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On FDR's 137th Birthday, 200+ Democrats Unveil Bill to Expand Social Security So 'Seniors Can Retire in Dignity'

On FDR's 137th Birthday, 200+ Democrats Unveil Bill to Expand Social Security So 'Seniors Can Retire in Dignity'

Jake Johnson, staff writer

In a move progressives celebrated as an essential step toward ensuring that no one retires into poverty, over 200 House Democrats on Wednesday introduced legislation that would protect and significantly expand Social Security benefits by subjecting the earnings of wealthy Americans to the program's payroll tax.


FDR was only able to get the original act passed through a compromise with racists in (and outside of) Congess, such that agricultural workers, mostly black men at the time, and domestic workers, mostly black women at the time, were excluded from receiving benefits. It’s long overdue for that to change. Ditto for removing the cap on earnings subject to FICA withholding.


I may be the only ole timer that remembers another democrat promising to make a change to Social Security. Obama said, while campaigning, he would back raising the taxable amount of SS before it is added to ones income… kinda like the tax break Reagan promised that I am still waiting for … sigh.


As someone who has lived below the poverty level for 25+ years all I can say is “make it so” because I know 100% of any increase goes right into the economy the day I get my benefit amount. The boost to the economy cannot be ignored.


Increasing the benefits paid by Social Security would indeed be great for retiring seniors however it’s desperately needed for those who receive Social Security Disability Income. At least most retiring seniors have had the ability to earn a lifetime of income and hopefully have a pension (yeah I know), 401k, or some investments such as a home to provide additional income to Social Security Retirement benefits. However many if not most beneficiaries who rely on disability benefits have lost their careers either before or during their prime career earning years and have had to survive on disability benefits just slightly above the poverty level with no way to save anything. COLAs have not kept up with inflation so every year their real income decreases. Remember, SSDI is basically a disability insurance plan in addition to being a partial retirement plan and therefore should provide an income that will at least allow the beneficiary enough income to put a roof over one’s head, put food on one’s table, and cover healthcare expenses. At current levels SSDI benefits don’t begin to cover those expenses. Currently there is a nationwide push for all workers to earn a living wage. Shouldn’t those who have lost the ability to work because of injury or illness be able to live as well?


I have experience with this. You are absolutely right.


The improved COLAs in this bill also apply to Disability benefits. I’ll be interested in seeing the exact text of the bill to know whether the parts about improvement of minimum benefits will apply fairly to disability benefits.


Now that more and more progressive legislation is being introduced in this Congress (despite little to no hope of any of it passing both Houses), let’s make sure we elect to the 2020 Congress enough progressives in both Houses to get them all passed (not to mention a true Progressive in the White House). Let’s keep the momentum going.


Amen. And maybe also stop denying legit disability claims so people like me can get even the poverty level stuff. No more ideological judge appointments to the administrative bench.


As a senior who has benefited from Social Security, the insurance of knowing a check is coming each month, is reassuring to those of us who have worked all of our lives and paid into this program.

To some, even more so.


Just make sure the jackals can’t borrow against it. Again.


Unfortunately there are also claims for SSDI for people who are drug addicts and alchoholics. Watched a special in the later 1990s where people showing their faces actually said that they were collecting checks for being on drugs. Then some of them said they took their said checks to buy more drugs and alchohol. They even laughed and said the tax payers paid for people to party in other words while they ( the tax payers worked). Saw a post not that long ago from some young people who said they were filing for disability because they were too “sad” to work. Wonder how many of these claims take away from legitimate ones like disabled vets etc.


I agree, and I think the key is “paid into the system.”

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When I signed up, I and another woman were the only “old” people at the office. The rest were young people ( looked in their twenties ) who were talking on cell phones and laughing.

Yes. Social Security should always include retirees and those receiving disability payments.
There should be no difference.

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Unfortunately there are people who scam the system - people who never paid a dime into it, and barely worked ( if at all).

I agree with you, but I worry about the true intention of the Democrats. We all know that the Republicans represent the plutocracy (kleptocracy), but Democrats have lied to us consistently over the past few decades leading to skepticism of their motives. We all remember Obama’s populist message when running in '08 (marching with strikers, etc.) and then doing the bidding of corporations once in office.
It is easy for Democrats to promise virtually anything now in the House when there is a Republican Senate and President, but their actions may be entirely different if they had total control of government. We all remember when Obama had the House and 60 Democrats in the Senate early in his administration and only talked about “compromise” and even proposed cuts to Social Security through the Bowles-Simpson commission.
As long as we have Pelosi and Schumer as leaders and the Democratic establishment promoting faux progressives such as Kamala Harris for the White House, I am very skeptical because the track record of the party follows a neoliberal path.


Along with this must be to pass a true single payer national health insurance otherwise, for the low income, this may mean the loss of the extra help they get to to actually cover medical expenses. They will not be in any better position.


Only people who have worked long enough and paid sufficiently into the social security system can receive social security disability insurance.

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Tom, you are absolutely right. If you feel up to it at all consider finding an organizing group for single payer where you live. If I knew your state/town I can ask around.

I too suffer from constant pain and even being covered has not helped and I need to go to the Mayo Clinic but must pay a large part of the bill which is impossible for me.

I have been organizing with others and dealing with constant pain is rough. Then I receive a letter fro the congressman of my state of Vermont with this:

When Congress debated the Affordable Care Act in 2009, I sponsored an amendment that would have allowed Americans the option to enroll in a government sponsored program for health coverage rather than private insurance. Unfortunately, it did not have enough support to be included in the final bill.

I believe the simplest path now to achieve a single payer system is to expand Medicare to cover all Americans. The Medicare program is administered by the federal government and is very popular among seniors whose quality of life and life expectancy have been dramatically improved due to Medicare services. I have cosponsored H.R. 676, the Expanded and Improved Medicare For All Act, which would establish a single-payer health care system for all Americans. While passing this bill with President Trump in the White House and Republicans controlling the Senate will be an uphill climb, I believe this is a fight worth having.

Medicare as is is very inadequate with co-pays and deductibles.