Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has introduced legislation that would require Americans making $250,000 per year or more to contribute the 6.2% payroll tax to Social Security.
The goal of the legislation is to strentgthen the Social Security program by adding extra income that can be used to pay future benefits. The estimate is that the extra money raised from the bill would add another $85 billion per year to the program.
The legislation is co-sponsored by Senators Harry Reid (D-NV), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Sheldon Whitehouse (D.-R.I.), Al Franken (D-MN) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).
Speaking on the legislation, Sanders said, “Social Security is the most successful government program in our nation’s history. Through good times and bad, Social Security has paid out every benefit owed to every eligible American. The most effective way to strengthen Social Security for the future is to eliminate the cap on the payroll tax on income above $250,000 so millionaires and billionaires pay the same share as everyone else.”
According to Sanders, Social Security is the most successful government program in American history, in large part because it has not contributed to the federal deficit. It has a $2.7 trillion surplus, and it can pay out every benefit owed to every eligible American for at least the next 20 years, according to the Social Security Administration.
Not everybody shares Sanders’ optimism for the program or agrees with his figures, however. FedSmith.com author Allen W. Smith, Ph.D. said in one of his many articles on the subject, “The Security Trust fund is empty. It contains no bonds or anything else of value. This has been true for the past 30 years, but the public has been misled to believe otherwise the whole time.”
Smith has also said that Social Security cannot pay full benefits until 2033 despite what many in Congress say today.