The Social Security Act 2100: A Proposal to Protect America's Elderly

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The Social Security 2100 Act would strengthen Social Security so it can pay all benefits through 2100 and beyond...

Diane Archer, The Smirking Chimp - August 14, 2019

"For people with low incomes, the Social Security 2100 Act raises the minimum monthly Social Security benefit to 25 percent above the federal poverty level. And it protects people with low incomes, allowing them to remain eligible for Medicaid and to retain their Supplemental Security Income benefits while increasing their Social Security benefits."

For millions of workers, Social Security is all they have to keep them from destitution in old age. Even with Social Security’s guaranteed benefits, they struggle to make ends meet. Fortunately, Congress can easily strengthen retirement security by expanding Social Security. Congressman John Larson (D-CT) has a bill to do just that: The Social Security 2100 Act, which is supported by 90 percent of Democrats in the House of Representatives.

Nearly four in five Americans live paycheck to paycheck. In 2018, the Federal Reserve Board found that four in ten Americans could not afford $400 for an emergency expense. Low wages combined with the high cost of health care, housing and education prevent people from putting aside funds for retirement. The Government Accountability Office reported earlier this year that almost half of households headed by Americans aged 55 and older have no retirement savings.

Equally concerning, most companies no longer offer pensions to their workers—a guaranteed monthly income. Instead, if they are lucky, workers get small financial contributions toward their retirement that do not amount to a whole lot. 401k plans and other so-called “defined contribution” plans do little good if workers are forced to spend their income on basic needs and have no money to save.

After retirement, people often struggle to afford high health care costs. Medicare only covers about half of these costs. (If enacted, Medicare for All would cover all of these costs.) According to the Government Accountability Office, there is a high likelihood that many Americans with retirement savings will outlive those savings.

Americans depend heavily on Social Security. Almost one out of three retirees rely on Social Security for virtually all of their income. Nearly two out of three retirees depend on Social Security for the majority of their income. It’s no surprise that more than seven in ten Americans support expanding Social Security.

Social Security’s one shortcoming is that its benefits are extremely modest by virtually any measure. Workers earning around $50,000, who retired at age 62 last year, received only 32 percent of their pay—much too little for them to maintain their standards of living. ...
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