Demand Progress

Fund Social Security - Tax the Wealthy

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    Fund Social Security - Tax the Wealthy

    Petition to President Biden:
    Remove the Social Security payroll tax cap so that the wealthy pay their fair share. Right now, the payroll tax cap means that working class and middle class Americans pay a higher percentage of their income into Social Security than millionaires and billionaires do. Democrats from Bernie Sanders to Joe Manchin agree that changing the payroll tax cap would be an easy and effective way to maintain and expand vital Social Security funding for future generations. .

    Tens of millions of Americans depend on Social Security to survive. It’s one of the most successful, popular programs in the United States. With a soaring cost of living, though, Social Security checks are not as high as they need to be, and Republicans are moving to further defund and destroy the program. But there’s a simple way to increase funding to maintain and expand Social Security: make the wealthy pay their fair share!

    For years, progressives like Bernie Sanders have proposed that the wealthy should pay more into Social Security. But now even politicians like Joe Manchin are supporting the idea. The White House must take advantage of this political opportunity and support raising the cap on Social Security payroll taxes.1

    Currently, a billionaire pays the same amount of money into Social Security as someone making $162,000 per year. That’s because of something called the “Social Security payroll cap,” which mandates that income over $160,200 per year is not subject to Social Security taxes. That means that millionaires and billionaires are paying a lower percentage of their income into Social Security than someone making $31,000/year, the average income in the United States.2

    Nearly everyone over 65 years old in the United States receives a Social Security check. The program has been extraordinarily effective, and without it, millions of American seniors would fall into abject poverty.2 In the face of a high cost of living and Republican obstruction, though, the program is in dire need of expansion. Forcing millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share is the most just way to ensure we can maintain and increase Social Security benefits.

    We don't often quote Joe Manchin, but even he says that taxing the rich is the “easiest and quickest” way to increase Social Security funding.1 A recent poll showed that 79% of Republicans also support raising the payroll tax cap.4 Progressives, moderates, and conservatives all agree on this solution - it's time for the White House to publicly push for the ultra wealthy to pay their fair share

    1. CNN, “This Social Security change would be ‘easiest and quickest,’ Manchin says. What debt ceiling negotiations may mean for benefits,” January 23, 2023.
    2. The Lever, “Ending the Social Security Tax Break for the Rich,” January 24, 2023.
    3. Center on Budget Priorities and Policies, “Social Security Lifts More People Above the Poverty Line Than Any Other Program,” April 19, 2022.
    4. University of Maryland’s Program for Public Consultation, “Large Majorities of Republicans and Democrats Agree on Steps to Drastically Reduce Social Security Shortfall,” September 15, 2022.