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A Huge Step Forward In The Quest To Expand Social Security

A Huge Step Forward In The Quest To Expand Social Security

Nancy J. Altman

This morning, Representative John Larson (D-CT), Chair of the Social Security Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee, announced the introduction of the Social Security 2100 Act. He informed those in attendance and those around the country watching online that the bill has over 200 original cosponsors. That many original cosponsors is truly remarkable and underscores how important and wise the legislation is.

Those in Congress who wish to remain in their positions, would be wise to endorse this new legislation.

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Where can I find out more about these specifics you mention? They are vastly different from the claims in this article. For many like me the difference is vast–from $250 per year to an amount which would keep me from the poverty I live in now on Social Security?

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You can find the full text of the bill at https://larson.house.gov/sites/larson.house.gov/files/LARSON_050_xml.pdf

The donut hole that @TomJohnson1 mentions between the current cap and $400,000 seems to me to be the biggest problem with the bill. Eliminating that and you could add more to the increased benefits amounts.


Yes I was surprised to see that the cap was not eliminated … who decided what would be in the bill? who actually wrote it? sorry I am getting old and have trouble doing the kind of intensive research even on a subject so critical to me so appreciate any additional info… I believe that Nancy Altman is not exactly a Democratic Socialist… what legislators actually drafted this? Thanks, V

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I don’t think the issue about taxing all income should be in this bill. I’d prefer it to be in an income tax bill (so that it would automatically apply here). Similarly, I’d say the single payer program should be its own bill. Each of these are complicated enough - merging them all into one is a bad strategy.

Also, note that If you eliminate the donut hole (so contributions are a flat tax) then Social Security would actually be a fairly progressive program because benefits are determined on a pretty progressive scale (90% of the first $926 average monthly earnings, then 32% up to $5,583, then 15% above that - with those cutoffs going up over time). Progressive tax and fixed benefits or flat tax and progressive benefits have essentially the same effect in my mind.

The COLA improvements in the bill reverses the Obama era reduction in COLA and actually makes it better than it was before so that’s a good thing. Adding in the rule about 125% over poverty level as a minimum as long as you’ve worked 30 years is just not a high enough level to provide a livable income as you mentioned above and eliminating the donut hole provision would allow that to go up to a more reasonable level. I do like the fact that you just need to get your 30 years in to be eligible for it because it would apply at younger ages for people who started working earlier in life.

Thanks, this is very helpful. And it seems that the original 2015 announcement was modified to the detriment of workers and benefit of the rich. Surprise surprise. I am on the mailing list of Social Security Works but somehow the changes were not mentioned. Just as the usual figure mentioned is the “average” benefit, which is nearly twice as much as what I get. In my case I’d be thrilled to get 125% over the poverty level! I believe that women who are single (or not married long enough to benefit from the husband’s higher amount) and who worked at low-paying jobs are among the poorest in America today. I actually get SSI because my Social Security is less than the amount given to people with disabilities.
Still I do understand that the federal poverty level is ridiculously low, impossible to live on! How do I and others do it? Well, not all bills always get paid. Living quarters can’t be properly maintained. There are no luxuries–new clothes or travel or anything not absolutely essential are out of the question. We lie awake at night trying to figure out how to get through the month.

But this info gives me a starting point. The list of sponsors include a lot of corporate Democrats including those like Beto who style themselves progressives. So thanks!


I just realized that I made a mistake - there was no change in the COLA formula under Obama - he just agreed to one that never passed.

Don’t Trump’s 2017 tax cuts introduce a chained CPI that erodes our Social Security and other earned benefits ? The tax cuts themselves give the GOP and complicit Democrats way more ammo than they ever had to rationalize benefit CUTS.

Not to mention recent estate tax reductions and the upcoming GOP bill to totally eliminate estate taxes and you best be wearing ear muffs when the Congress amps up whining about how there is no money for “domestic programs”.