Tags: Hillary Clinton | liberals | Social Security | Hillary Clinton | Martin OMalley

Will Hillary Join Liberals' Call for Social Security Increases?

Image: Will Hillary Join Liberals' Call for Social Security Increases?
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By    |   Monday, 06 Apr 2015 12:14 PM

A call from liberals in Congress for increases in Social Security benefits for seniors could spell future trouble for Hillary Clinton, The Wall Street Journal reports.

"The liberals' argument is that Social Security benefits are meager and that people in retirement need more, not less, money. Some also contend that concerns about the program's solvency are exaggerated. And inside the Democratic Party, that argument is gaining traction," the Journal said of new legislation, which has 58 House co-sponsors thus far.

Such an idea for more Social Security benefits, not less, is also being floated by some Democrats on the campaign trail, the Journal said, including former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley.

How Clinton might respond to such a call remains to be seen, with some seeking a tax increase to fund it and others seeking cutbacks to balance and sustain the program for generations ahead.

In her 2008 presidential run, Clinton supported a bipartisan commission to help work through any crisis with funding, the Journal said.

The program, as it stands, is expected to run out of reserve funds by 2033. Without improvements, as more retirees use it and fewer workers pay in to fund it, those drawing payments would then only get about 77 percent of the benefits that they had expected, the Journal reported.

The Social Security Expansion Act was introduced last month by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. It would increase payouts by $65 per month and include cost-of-living adjustments.

His plan, Sanders said in a statement on his website, is also designed to make contributions more equitable, and "would make the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share."

He added: "Under current law, the amount of income subject to the payroll tax is capped at $118,500. That means someone making millions of dollars a year pays the same amount in payroll taxes as some making $118,500 a year. The legislation would subject all income over $250,000 to the payroll tax. Doing so would impact only the top 1.5 percent of wage earners, the Center for Economic Policy Research has estimated."

Sen. Elizabeth Warren stepped in on March 27 to introduce a budget resolution amendment that would protect and expand Social Security benefits. Her engagement on the issue, reported Mother Jones, helped raise the profile that the program should not be cut but rather reviewed and improved.

"By introducing this amendment, Warren forced senators to take a position on the popular retirement program," Mother Jones wrote, adding that all Democrats but two supported her amendment while all Republicans voted against it.

"The things that Elizabeth is pushing — and not just in this area but in financial regulation, in student loans, and a whole bunch of areas — are very attractive to working-class communities in middle America," Damon Silvers, policy director and special counsel for the AFL-CIO, told Mother Jones.

"The populist wing of the Democratic Party is putting issues on the table that the public supports in a big way. And when that happens it's very hard for the rest of the party to oppose them."

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A call from liberals in Congress for increases in Social Security benefits for seniors could spell future trouble for Hillary Clinton, The Wall Street Journal reports.
liberals, Social Security, Hillary Clinton, Martin OMalley
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2015-14-06
Monday, 06 Apr 2015 12:14 PM
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