Sanders proposes increasing Social Security for poor seniors $1300 a year

By Eric DuVall   |   Feb. 17, 2017 at 1:53 PM
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Feb. 17 (UPI) -- Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced a bill Thursday that would increase Social Security benefits for most seniors while raising taxes on wealthy Americans.

The bill would grant seniors with income less than $16,000 per year an additional $1,300 annually in Social Security benefits. The increase would be paid for by taxing income over $250,000, The Hill reported.

Payroll taxes are currently only charged on the first $250,000 of income.

According to government data, the Social Security system, if left unchanged, would be 100 percent solvent until 2034, after which point it would only be able to pay out about 79 percent of promised benefits.

Sanders' legislation extends full solvency for Social Security through 2078, according to an analysis by the Social Security Administration.

It is unclear whether Sanders' proposal will meet with much success, however. President Donald Trump campaigned on a promise not to reduce entitlement benefits, but congressional Republicans have in the past opposed charging higher taxes as a means to address Social Security's long-term solvency.

Instead, a bill introduced by House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Sam Johnson, R-Texas, would eliminate taxes on social security benefits for wealthy retirees, increase the retirement age and rein in cost of living adjustments (COLA's), saving $14 trillion and extending the program's solvency by 75 years.

Sanders, a self-described socialist and former Democratic presidential candidate, said addressing Social Security in the long term should involve increasing benefits, not reducing them.

"Anyone who tells you Social Security is going broke is lying," Sanders said. "We can increase Social Security benefits for millions of Americans and extend the life of Social Security if we have the political will to tell the wealthiest Americans to pay the same rate as everyone else."

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