Social Security has long been a political hot potato. But it's long overdue for the representatives in this country to start taking accountability and stop worrying about political expediency.
Social Security has been a crucial support system for the hard-working Americans who supported this country in good times and bad, and we owe it to every person who counts on a Social Security check now just the same as we owe it to every young adult who is paying into the system for the very first time to ensure that Social Security continues to support those Americans who need it most.
For 80 years, Social Security has provided financial stability and retirement income for tens of millions of Americans. Yet Congress is constantly looking to steal from this most sacred piggy bank with one hand and while the other is slapping those who remain committed to fighting for the rights of Social Security recipients. Now, just when you thought they couldn't get any lower, they are trying to pit the interests of disabled Americans against retired Americans. This tactic is not only despicable, it simply doesn't make sense.
I refuse to sit idle while others attempt to dismantle Social Security. I will not surrender to the fuzzy math of the anti-government crowd who think deregulation and privatization is a panacea for all ills -- real or imagined.
Instead, I have a simple proposal that would keep Social Security solvent without slashing benefits or subjecting it to the whims of Wall Street: remove the cap and raise the level of income on which Americans pay Social Security taxes.
Currently, Americans pay tax on their first $118,500 in income, but any income above that total remains untouched. That means someone with an annual income of approximately $1.5 million pays 1/12 the rate that most middle-class Americans do, because all income from $118,501 on up is untaxed. While millionaires and billionaires can stop contributing to Social Security once they've earned $118,500 -- about one month's salary for someone with an annual income of $1.5 million -- working class people contribute all year long, each and every week from their paycheck. The bottom line is that everyday Americans, like the people of Staten Island and Brooklyn, incur a far higher Social Security tax-burden than the super-rich, and this makes absolutely no sense.
Some may believe this country succeeds when millionaires and billionaires get to write their own rules, but I believe our country succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot and plays by the same rules. Therefore I see no reason to continue allowing the super-rich to dodge payroll taxes on a substantial percentage of their salaries.
When the dust settles on divisiveness and the sun sets on destructive ideas, America's workers, senior citizens, widows, orphans and the disabled will be left behind, waiting for the leaders they elected to do one thing: lead.
I won't let Social Security be relegated to hot potato status. The needs of the retired and the disabled today and all of those paying into the system expecting to rely on it tomorrow are far too important. It is time for representatives in Congress to start listening to the people who vote for them, the same people that are overwhelmingly against privatization and cuts to payouts. By simply removing the cap, we can make Social Security stronger and ensure even greater financial security in retirement for generations to come.
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