Sanders wants to lift the payroll tax cap, expand Social Security benefits, increase minimum benefits paid to low income workers at retirement and increase cost of living expenses.
“At a time when the average Social Security benefit is just $1,328 a month and over a third of senior citizens rely on Social Security for virtually all of their income our job must be to expand benefits not cut them. Our job is to strengthen Social Security, not weaken it. Let’s be clear: Social Security is the most successful government program in our nation’s history. Before Social Security was signed into law nearly half of senior citizens lived in poverty. Today while much too high the elderly poverty rate is about 10 percent. Let me also be clear in stating that one of the great strengths of Social Security is that through good economic times and bad Social Security has paid every nickel owed to every eligible American on time and without delay. That is an extraordinary accomplishment and in this unstable economy something that we should not take for granted. When corporations eliminated defined benefit pension plans over the last thirty years Social Security was right there paying full benefits. When millions of American’s lost their life savings after Wall Street’s greed and recklessness crashed the economy in 2008 Social Security was right there paying full benefits. Although Social Security’s finances will remain strong for the next 19 years I believe congress must strengthen and expand Social Security for generations to come.
Well how do we do that? The answer is simple. We demand that the wealthiest American’s in this country pay their fair share into the Social Security system. Today at a time when almost all new incoming wealth is going to the top one percent a billionaire pays the same amount of money into Social Security as someone who makes $118,500 a year. That’s because the Social Security payroll tax is capped. If we lift that cap and apply the payroll tax on all income over $250,000 a year we can do four things. First we can make sure that Social Security can pay out every benefit owed to every eligible American for the next 50 years. Not 19 years, 50 years. Second, we can expand benefits by an average of $65 dollars a month. Third we can lift seniors out of poverty by increasing the minimum benefits paid to low income workers when they retire. Fourth we can increase cost of living expenses to keep up with the rising cost of health care and prescription drugs. Expanding social security by making the wealthiest American’s pay more is not only the right thing to do from a moral perspective it is good economics and it is what a large majority of the American people want us to do.
Our job together is to create an economy which works for all not just the wealthy and the powerful. Our job is to protect the most vulnerable people in our society including the elderly and the disabled. Our job is to extend and expand social security, not cut it or privatize it. Please work with me to make this happen and please get this video out to your friends and family. Thank you very much.”