House GOP committee pits young against old

By Tia Maria

Mainstream media often gets it wrong these days when covering Social Security. Details from current Democratic proposals to strengthen the program and Republican proposals for cuts, such as raising the retirement age, usually are lost in the verbiage of the overly confident, or are just ignored completely.

But young people will need their earned Social Security benefits perhaps even moreso than their parents and grandparents. One main reason is that previous generations relied on income from pensions in their retirement years. Today, pensions are rare and 401(k)s depend on Wall Street in a market subject to extreme volatilities. Think of 2000, 2008 and 2015. Add to this decades of tax cuts for the wealthy resulting in the inequality, poverty and homelessness we see today. 

Social Security not only guarantees a modest monthly income for seniors, but also provides young people, right now, with the equivalent of a $2 million disability benefit in case, God forbid, tragedy strikes and they become disabled.

Recent Social Security trustees’ projections that the Social Security Trust Fund would start paying 83% of benefits by 2035 resulted in media outlets such as Newsweek, CNBC and the Washington Post getting it wrong in saying the trust fund was going broke and will run out of money. Sadly, correcting errors once they are out in the public consciousness is almost impossible, and there is no alert system to warn: “Lazy journalists ahead!”

Has the mainstream media reported on the U.S. House Republican Study Committee’s proposal to raise the retirement age to 70 for today’s youth? It’s almost as if the reasoning is that older people are more reliable voters, so let’s not get them angry; but young people are malleable, so let’s mess with them and fulfill their worst expectations. Thankfully, the Biden Administration issued a fact sheet in April exposing the RSC’s calls for cutting over $1.5 trillion to Social Security, increasing the retirement age and cutting disability benefits, as well. 

RSC members from Florida:Dist. 4Aaron Bean, Dist. 12 Gus Bilirakis, Dist. 16 Vern Buchanan, Dist. 3 Kat Cammack, Dist. 19 Byron Donalds, Dist. 2 Neal Dunn, Dist. 18 Scott Franklin, Dist. 28 Carlos Gimenez, Dist. 15 Laurel Lee, Dist. 13 Anna Luna, Dist. 21 Brian Mast, Dist. 7 Cory Mills, Dist. 8 Bill Posey, Dist. 17 Gregory Steube, Dist. 6 Michael Waltz, Dist. 11 Daniel Webster. Source:

By and large, Democrats favor requiring the wealthy to pay their fair share as a solution to strengthening Social Security. Legislation already before Congress includes Connecticut Rep. John Larson’s ‘Social Security 2100 Act’ that would address the wealthy who are capped out of the payroll tax. This year’s cap is approximately $168,000. Lifting the cap is a just and sustainable solution to ensuring Social Security pays out 100 percent of benefits into the next century.

But lifting the payroll cap is just one step to strengthening Social Security. Wealthier individuals get half of their income or more from unearned income, capital gains and dividends, which are not taxed at all for Social Security. These wealthy get a double break by not having to pay payroll tax on income above the cap, and then not having to pay on capital gains and dividends. Taxing these is an option, too.

After a lifetime of work and paying your taxes, having a roof over your head, clothes on your back, food on your table, a few dollars in the bank and quality health care at the end of one’s days is not too much to ask. There is more than enough money in the economy to expand Social Security and raise it back up to the bulwark against poverty it has been. Let’s change the conversation from cutting benefits to increasing revenue sources. There is no reason to cut benefits when raising revenue is the just alternative.

Sources & credits: The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, Los Angeles Times commentator and Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Michael Hiltzik, the “You Earned It” broadcast. Tia Maria, a pen name, volunteers for the NCPSSM.

Comments are closed.