Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders urged President Joe Biden to boost Social Security payouts and expand payroll taxes in order to fund the program for the next 75 years, according to The Washington Post.
Sanders pitched his plan during a private Jan. 25 meeting in the Oval Office, and Biden’s response was was noncommittal, according to the Post. Biden has pledged to block any Republican attempts to cut Social Security, but he’s been less forthcoming about how he plans to fund the program, which is expected to run a $21 trillion shortfall over the next 30 years, according to Manhattan Institute senior fellow Brian Riedl.
Sanders’ plan, which he’s proposed once again in a bill he reintroduced in January, involved levying new payroll taxes on earnings over $160,000 and raising annual Social Security payments by $2,400 per recipient. (RELATED: Biden’s Social Security Pledge Will Likely Mean Huge Middle Class Tax Hikes, Expert Warns)
I will be re-introducing my bill to extend Social Security’s solvency for the next 75 years & expand benefits by $2,400 a year. How? By scrapping the cap. Today, a billionaire pays the same amount into Social Security as someone making $160,000 a year. Let’s end that absurdity.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) January 22, 2023
The White House has been working behind the scenes to determine whether they should advocate for any specific policies on Social Security and other entitlement programs rather than simply condemning Republicans who have suggested cuts, according to the Post. White House aides have proposed payroll taxes on the wealthy, but Biden hasn’t endorsed that plan, according to anonymous sources cited by the Post.
Taxing the wealthy won’t necessarily solve Biden’s entitlement funding problem, according to Riedl; even if Congress imposed state and payroll tax rates nearing 100% for wealthy taxpayers through upper tax bracket rate hikes, high-worth asset taxes and a raised corporate tax rate, the new tax revenue still couldn’t fund the next three decades of Social Security and Medicare as the programs currently exist, according to Riedl.
“The biggest threats to Social Security and Medicare are House and Senate Republican efforts to gut a program millions of Americans have been paying into since their first jobs as teenagers,” the White House told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “The President has already helped pass the two most significant bills to lower health care costs in Medicare in generations, through the Affordable Care Act and Inflation Reduction Act, and has promised more to keep Medicare solvent in his budget, but he won’t budge on paying every penny of the benefits to Americans that have earned them. We look forward to Republicans sharing their plan with the American people as well, since they have promised to pass a budget this year.”
Sanders did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
This article has been updated with comment from the White House.
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