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McMurray: Expand cap on high incomes to keep Social Security viable

Posted 24 February 2020 at 5:56 pm

Editor:

I recently spoke at a gun club. I’m a gun owner and Eagle Scout, from a working class background; but because I’m a Democrat, most of the people in the room looked at me with suspicion. There were probably 70 people there; some even wearing MAGA hats.

That suspicion only started to melt when we began talking about Social Security. I told them that for four years in a row Trump proposed cuts to Social Security in some manner, and that he also wanted cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, or what he called “entitlements.”

“That’s not true,” one man said.

Another said, “Those aren’t entitlements. We earned them.”

Indeed you did. But Trump’s fiscal 2021 budget calls for a reduction in outlays to the Social Security program of over $24 billion over the next decade. You can read it. See it for yourself. And you can listen to his words. Believe what he says.

Social Security started during the Great Depression. It was meant as a way for our country to look after those who, by no fault of their own, were unable to work. Over the years, many Americans, including my family, got by because of Social Security. It’s not a giveaway. It’s something you pay for, and it needs to be protected.

In any given year you pay into Social Security up to $137,000. It stops getting deducted after you hit that ceiling. So if you make more than that, you stop paying. For example, if you make $1,000,000 a year, you’ll stop paying around March. If you make $50,000 a year, you pay all year long; every single paycheck.

Because of this, our nation’s Social Security program will go bankrupt. There is simply not enough money being collected. My kids won’t have Social Security to rely on in their Golden Years. This cap, and recent tax giveaways to the wealthiest people in our country, are what has put our Social Security in jeopardy.

All budgets are a matter of priorities. For your home budget, you may include cable television and give up your newspaper subscription. You may have to eat hamburger helper a few nights a week in order to go out with your family and get ribeye once in awhile. Budgets depend on what we value most. What your priorities are. That’s no different at the national level.

Social Security must be our nation’s priority. We need to remove the cap on high incomes in order to fully fund this vital program. If one person pays all year, every person should pay all year. If anything, we should include a Social Security floor so the most vulnerable people are protected and everyone gets some level of break. We don’t have to raise the age or take some other extreme action. Removing the ceiling alone will create strong and lasting Social Security. In fact, our goal should be to expand your social security benefits. After working so hard your whole life to enjoy your retirement, you don’t deserve seven days of hamburger helper.

Don’t cut. Remove the cap. Expand it.

Nate McMurray

Candidate for Congress in New York’s 27th Congressional District