Social Security What's Buzzing

Top Democratic presidential candidates support strengthening Social Security

Written by Diane Archer

The top four Democratic presidential candidates may be split on health care reform, two favor the public option and two favor Medicare for All. But, Nancy Altman writes in Forbes that all four top candidates, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg, support strengthening and expanding Social Security. No matter who becomes the Democratic candidate, if you support expanding Social Security, it will be critical to vote.

Social Security is a national treasure that virtually all Democratic members of Congress support expanding. In fact, nine out of ten members of the House of Representatives support Congressman John Larson’s Social Security 2100 Act. If enacted, Social Security benefits would rise, and its Trust Fund would be strong for many many decades.

Increasing Social Security benefits would  help older Americans in retirement. Today, a large portion of older adults struggle to afford their basic needs. Few people can rely on pensions or retirement savings. Many rely almost exclusively or heavily on Social Security for their income. Social Security income is guaranteed and cost-effective, unlike Wall Street stock investments and 401(k) plans.

Most Republicans in Congress would like to cut Social Security benefits even though their constituents overwhelmingly support Social Security. They strive to create a wedge between older adults and younger Americans. In fact, young Americans need Social Security both when they retire and, now, to help support their parents and grandparents. Without adequate Social Security benefits, young Americans would be left worrying even more about their parents’ financial well-being.
Social Security is social insurance, meaning that everyone contributes to it and everyone who contributes benefits. It builds social solidarity. Americans all count on it for themselves and their families. Social Security is an earned benefit, unlike other federal and state social programs that are for particular populations in need. For our personal and collective security, we must ensure its continued well-being.
Social Security benefits need to be coupled with coverage for home and community-based care. Medicare for All, which Senators Sanders and Warren support, covers these long-term services. Buttigieg proposes giving people $90 a day to help with these costs, which is far more than the US guarantees older adults today. But, his plan does not come close to providing the most vulnerable Americans with adequate coverage.
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1 Comment

  • …the Dems haven’t always been the good guys either. Mr. Clinton, and Mr. Obama both considered cuts to Social Security. Mrs. Clinton waffled for months on the idea as well before fily committing herself to protecting SS after Mr. Sanders made that one of his major points in the 2016 primaries. Mr Biden even promoted cuts to Social security via support for raising the retirement age, what was called an SS “Tax Holiday” (which cost the programme 112$ billion in revenue, and means testing.

    We need to hold their feet to the fire to not only protect Social Security but find ways to expand benefits raise the minimum income limit so recipients are not forced to live in poverty (particularly for those on who have difficulty working or are unable to work to supplement their benefits), eliminate the cap, increase base benefits, and institute living cost adjustment that keep pace with inflation and are based on the actual costs senior and disabled (which includes using housing and medication costs (both of which are rising faster than people can keep up with, as part of the equation).

    Some cuts did occur during the previous administration, mainly staff and administrative ones, which have made getting information or appealing decisions (in the case of SSDI claims) a longer more time consuming process due to the department being understaffed. It is not unusual to be placed on hold 45 min or longer before talking to someone on the telephone and people often wait the better part of a day at the local SS office to see worker in person (even with an appointment). This is not a good situation considering my generation is reaching retirement age.

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