Politics Magazine

Bernie Calls For Rich To Pay A Fair Share Of FICA Taxes

Posted on the 13 February 2015 by Jobsanger
Bernie Calls For Rich To Pay A Fair Share Of FICA Taxes (This caricature of Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) is by DonkeyHotey.)
I just received this e-mail from Senator Bernie Sanders -- and as usual, he cuts right to the truth of the matter at hand. This time it is over the new attempt by Republicans to cut Social Security benefits (and protect their rich buddies from having to pay the same percentage in Social Security taxes that all working and middle class workers have to pay). Bernie is right. It is time to raise (or eliminate) the cap on the amount of income subject to FICA taxes (commonly called payroll taxes). This is the best solution to Social Security's future funding problems, and it is a solution that's fair to all Americans.
Bernie writes:
Republicans hate Social Security because it has been an extraordinary success and has done exactly what it was designed to do. Since its implementation in 1935, Social Security has lowered the poverty rate amongst seniors from about 50% to less than 10%. And today it also covers 11 million Americans living with disabilities including 3 million children, making it the most successful social program in our country’s history.
However, the success of Social Security has only emboldened conservatives’ attempts at privatizing and cutting. In fact, currently in Congress, members of both the House and Senate are attempting to divide the American people, telling them that unless we cut benefits today, they won’t be there for future generations.
Let me be clear. Social Security has not contributed one nickel to our deficit or our national debt. It has a $2.8 trillion surplus. It will be able to pay 100 percent of promised benefits to every eligible recipient for the next 18 years, just as it has done for the past 79 years. And, all we need to do is ask millionaires and billionaires to start paying their fair share and we not only extend the life of the Social Security trust fund, we can afford to expand benefits for millions of Americans.
This week marks the day when the top one percent of wage earners in America stop paying into Social Security. This is because, right now, only the first $118,500 of a wage earner’s income is subject to the payroll tax that funds Social Security.
To recognize this week when millionaires and billionaires stop paying into Social Security and to respond to attacks from my colleagues on our earned Social Security benefits, I held a briefing with Social Security Works co-founder Nancy Altman and the Strengthen Social Security Coalition.
The briefing focused on rising inequality in America and its impact on Social Security. Due to stagnant wages, 94 percent of Americans pay Social Security tax on all of their income, but the wealthiest 6 percent do not. We must reverse this trend for the future or our economy and the future of Social Security.
Stand with me today. Tell Congress that instead of manufacturing a false Social Security crisis, we must work to find solutions that protect and expand the most popular social program in the history of the United States.
Thank you for standing with me in our fight to protect and expand Social Security.
Sincerely,
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders

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