Manchester is located at the eastern edge of Connecticut’s First Congressional District. Our elected representative to Congress is John Larson of East Hartford.
In mid-October, at Goodwin College, Representative Larson spoke to seniors about the Social Security Program. I went to hear what he had to say. The following is what I learned:
- Social Security is in good shape right now with $3 trillion in the fund
- 10,000 people a day are retiring (Boomers)
- Social Security will start to run out in 2034
- In 2034 Social Security will have to be cut 20% across the board to remain solvent
- 63 million people receive social security benefits
- More than 5 million people living on social security are receiving below poverty level benefits
- Almost 3.4 million of the 5 million receiving below poverty benefits are women
- Each Congressional District has an average of 125,000 people receiving social security benefits
- Increases in Social Security Payments go right back into the local economy as people use the money to buy food, medication and heat for homes
- AARP supports using CPI-E (Consumer Product Index – Elderly)
- FICA stands for Federal Insurance Contribution Act
Misconceptions about Social Security
- Social Security is not an entitlement; it is an earned benefit
- Social Security is not a tax; it is a pre-tax contribution
- However, it is called a FICA tax, so that is a little confusing
Representative Larson’s Proposal
- raise the minimum payment to 125% of poverty level for everyone who has worked 40 quarters
- The Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) would adopt the CPI-E formula
- Cut taxes for Social Security recipients who continue to work
- the bill would increase the minimum someone can earn before paying taxes from $24,000 to $50,000 for a single person and $32,000 to $100,000 for a couple
- Make the fund solvent for 75 years
Plan to Pay for the Proposal
- Additional FICA contribution of 50 cents a week for every $50,000/yr in income
- Contribution capped at $400,000/yr rather than $139,200/yr
- Right now the FICA contribution of 6.2% is paid on income up to $132,000
- No Republicans in the house have signed on to the bill
- 400 bills are sitting on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s desk awaiting movement to the Senate floor
- The only Republican proposal to date would cut benefits by 30%
What do 74% of Americans (Republicans, Independents and Democrats) agree on?
- Hearing from witnesses at the Impeachment Trial of President Trump is a good guess but is not the correct answer.
- The correct answer is fixing Social Security.