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Reich: We can afford to expand Social Security

Written by Diane Archer

Social Security is not in trouble, explains former U.S. Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich. In fact, Congress should expand its benefits.  Today, two-thirds of people collecting Social Security rely on it for more than half their income and one-third rely on it for at least 90 percent of their income. Click here to see what your Social Security benefits will be when you retire.

Today, millions of Americans are at risk of retiring without being able to maintain their standard of living, says Reich.  Millions of Americans earn too little to save adequately for retirement.  And fewer of us are receiving pensions from their jobs.  Moreover, most people are having to pay more for prescription drugs, eating into their limited incomes. Social Security benefits are simply not adequate for many people. they need to expand to meet people’s needs.

We can increase Social Security benefits by ending the cap on Social Security contributions, which is now $118,500. The cap allows people earning millions of dollars to contribute only as much into Social Security as people earning $118,500. If we scrap the cap, millionaires and billionaires would pay their fair share into Social Security to ensure that older adults today and in the future will get needed Social Security benefits.  And, most Americans support this proposal.

We can also strengthen Social Security by restoring the minimum wage to what it once was.  Here’s some data from the Economic Policy Institute on point.

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