The push to increase social security benefits was never mentioned by the beltway media because Conservatives didn't bring it up. See, progressives are not serious to them, but a group that shuts down the government and loses America twenty four billion dollars because of their insanity is truly the awesome.
Maybe now they will take notice, but either way, this is really very refreshing news
Another Democratic Senator has now joined the push for a proposal that had previously been mostly debated in the blogosphere, far outside the boundaries of acceptable discourse: Increasing Social Security benefits, rather than cutting them.
Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon announced his support for increasing Social Security benefits in a release after a committee hearing he chaired yesterday on retirement security, but it has gotten little to no attention. Merkley said:
“Too many Americans are concerned they will never be able to afford to retire. Through Social Security, we can and should put a comfortable retirement within reach of more hardworking Americans. With traditional pensions available to fewer people and ordinary families facing risks and difficulties in saving enough for retirement through 401(k)s and IRAs, the landscape of retirement is changing and we must act. It’s time to give seniors a modest raise and change cost-of-living adjustments to reflect the real costs seniors face.”
This puts Merkley in a small but growing camp that is advocating for an idea, first put forward by Dem Senator Mark Begich of Alaska, that would lift or change the payroll tax cap, meaning higher earners would pay more, while adopting a new measure for inflation that would increase benefits for all seniors. That measure is rooted in the idea, as Merkley put it in his release, that “seniors are more likely than others to spend large percentages of their income on costs that have risen faster than inflation, such as housing and medical care.”
Senators who now support making Security more generous include Merkley, Begich, Elizabeth Warren, Sherrod Brown, and Bernie Sanders.
And Merkley is now campaigning on it.
A Democratic aide confirms to me that Merkley will campaign on strengthening Social Security in a way that includes the push to make benefits more generous, not less.
“Strengthening social security and putting a few extra bucks in seniors’ pockets is good politics,” the aide tells me. “Democrats shouldn’t run away from their strength on Social Security. In fact, they should put it close and center. Social Security is a successful government program that’s been central to the Democratic Party’s identity for decades.”
This is not only a smart policy, but it's smart politics. We've just witnessed conservatives calling social safety net programs socialism at CPAC so let them defend themselves in the midterms.
I know the beltway never promotes the Congressional Progressive Caucus, but expanding Social Security benefits is part of their new budget too.
The Better Off Budget envisions profound social changes, including a public health insurance option and waivers for states to implement their own single-payer programs. It imposes a $25-per-ton carbon tax, rebating some of the revenue to low-income families to protect against energy price spikes. It envisages an end to the war in Afghanistan and reduced defense spending going forward, and calls for comprehensive immigration reform. It also requires the president to disclose the total intelligence budget for the first time, changes campaign finance rules and keeps Social Security off the table in budget discussions.
In fact, the Progressive Caucus would expand benefits and pay for them by lifting the cap on payroll taxes that fund the program.