Social Security stability has emerged as a significant concern leading up to the 2024 election. In March, the annual report from the Social Security and Medicare trustees cautioned that the program’s trust fund might be exhausted within ten years, resulting in only 77 percent coverage of benefits starting in 2033.
However, Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-PA) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) have introduced the Medicare and Social Security Fair Share Act, which, according to an analysis by the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Chief Actuary, would extend Social Security’s viability by at least 75 years. The proposed legislation aims to ensure that taxpayers earning more than $400,000 contribute a “fairer share” to Social Security and Medicare. The goal is to eliminate advantages that benefit people with higher incomes and prevent wealthy owners of pass-through businesses, such as hedge funds and private equity firms, who make over $400,000 per year, from avoiding Medicare taxes.
The White House and Boyle stated in a news release that the passage of this legislation would “sustain Social Security solvency indefinitely by making the nation’s highest earners contribute their fair share.”
According to the analysis, enacting the proposed provisions would enable the Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program to meet its scheduled benefit payments in full and on time for the next 75 years. Additionally, the analysis revealed that implementing these provisions would result in the OASDI program meeting the conditions necessary for sustainable solvency, with projected trust fund reserves growing as a percentage of the program’s annual cost over the long term.
There are only two options to fix Social Security’s projected shortfall: reducing benefits or increasing revenue. Democrats and Republicans have contrasting visions for the future of Social Security. Democrats have ruled out benefit cuts due to the inadequacy of current benefits and propose raising the necessary revenue from millionaires and billionaires. The Medicare and Social Security Fair Share Act aligns with this approach.
Boyle emphasized the importance of strengthening and securing these programs, which were established to uphold the dignity and independence of senior and disabled citizens. The chairman of the Senate Budget Committee has acknowledged that the ultra-wealthy have been able to avoid paying Social Security taxes on a significant portion of their income by exploiting loopholes in the tax code. This puts the program’s promise for future generations in danger. The White House has been made aware of this issue. He viewed the analysis from the Social Security Administration as evidence that by protecting this vital program for everyone and improving the flawed tax code, a win-win situation can be achieved.
Boyle invited his Republican colleagues to join him in safeguarding Social Security by creating a fairer tax system, ensuring that individuals like teachers, nurses, and firefighters do not pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes than billionaires.
Republicans, on the other hand, have not presented a unified plan to ensure the solvency of Social Security. Some members of the House Republican Study Committee proposed raising the age at which individuals can claim full Social Security benefits. In May, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced the establishment of a fiscal commission tasked with finding ways to reduce the national debt. McCarthy implied that the commission may contemplate cutting down funding for Social Security and Medicare, even if it means making some individuals uneasy.