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John Larson & Social Security

Manchester is located at the eastern edge of Connecticut’s First Congressional District.  Our elected representative to Congress is John Larson of East Hartford.fullsizeoutput_2f16

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:

Basic Facts

  • 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

Partisan Issues

  • 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.


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