Major Economic Policy Group Calls on US Leaders to Protect Social Security

Over the last several years, support for expanding Social Security benefits has moved from the political fringe to the mainstream, with 79 percent of likely voters—a majority of Democrats, Republicans, and independents—supporting expansion. Last year, almost the entire Democratic caucus voted for a Senate budget amendment in support of expansion.

2015 offers a major opportunity to discuss the future of our earned benefits. Not only is Medicare celebrating its 50th anniversary and Social Security its 80th, next month on July 13 the White House will hold its once-a-decade White House Conference on Aging. This is an opportunity to discuss ways to address the retirement income crisis looming over future retirees. Unfortunately, the conference’s recently released draft policy brief has a glaring omission—there is no discussion of Social Security expansion.

The Economic Policy Institute is working on this issue, but they need the help from the UBC.

Join EPI and our partners in calling on the White House Conference on Aging to include Social Security expansion in any discussion about retirement security. We must protect and expand Social Security!

In recent years, members of Congress have introduced legislation to expand Social Security through modest across-the-board benefit increases; cost-of-living adjustments that better reflect costs faced by seniors; and provisions targeted at vulnerable groups, such as a higher minimum benefit and a restored student benefit for older children of disabled and deceased workers. Importantly, these bills—eight introduced in the 113th Congress alone—would also raise revenue and strengthen the system’s finances.

With one-third of seniors relying on Social Security for virtually all of their income and an average annual benefit of just $16,000, it is critical that the White House Conference on Aging go beyond a simple discussion of protecting earned benefits.

For years, conservatives in Washington have pushed for privatization and other ways to undermine the Social Security system and enrich Wall Street. These include proposals for means testing, reducing the cost-of-living adjustment, and raising the retirement age.

But instead of cutting benefits, Americans across political and demographic lines support expanding benefits and paying for it by raising payroll taxes on the wealthiest Americans. Right now, only the first $118,500 of a wage earner’s income is subject to the payroll tax that funds Social Security. If we ask upper-income earners to pay into Social Security at the same rate as the rest of us, we can expand benefits for the majority of Americans while extending the solvency of the program.

Join EPI and our partners in calling on the White House Conference on Aging to include Social Security expansion in any discussion about the future of earned benefits. Click here to sign the petition.

At a time when many employers have switched from traditional pension plans toward a do-it-yourself 401(k) retirement savings model, it is critical that we find ways to protect and expand the only guaranteed retirement savings we have. It is time to expand Social Security!