Election 2020: Looking at Social Security

As the runup to the 2020 election progresses, details on the candidates’ thoughts about Social Security’s future are beginning to emerge. In a post by CNBC Personal Finance Reporter Lorie Konish, the underpinnings of Democrat candidate Joe Biden’s thoughts are explained and supplemented with commentary by Larry Kotlikoff, professor of economics at Boston University. As Ms. Konish observes, Biden’s plan  “would boost benefits for low-income households while raising taxes on high earners.”

Specifically, Biden calls for a boost in Social Security’s special minimum benefit provision–the special minimum base benefit amount designed to provide adequate benefits for long-term low earners–of nearly 50%, from $886/month currently to $1301/month. His plan also includes increased survivors benefits and improved benefits for those living a long time, also designed to favor low earners. To fund these benefit increases, Biden’s plan would include levying payroll taxes on incomes above $400,000.

Also addressed in Ms. Konish’s article is a summary of President Trump’s plan to temporarily defer payroll taxes, with the possibility of these deferred taxes being forgiven, depending on the election results.

As Ms. Konish’s article points out, the 2020 election will play a pivotal role in determining Social Security’s fiscal future. In the face of the impending depletion of the program’s accumulated reserves, she suggests that “talks on Capitol Hill have increasingly turned to how to restore the program’s solvency.” Given this, it seems clear that the 2021-2024 Administration will have the opportunity to craft a framework for Social Security’s future.

Read Ms. Konish’s CNBC post here…


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