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Social Security’s Future Continues to Build as a Campaign Subject

As could be expected, the gnawing issue of Social Security’s projected insolvency is becoming a pivotal talking point for the 2024 election year. This week, President Biden addressed the Wisconsin Black Chamber of Commerce in Milwaukee and lashed out at Republicans with claims of intent to cut benefits while Democrat lawmakers advocate expanding benefits. His remarks this week were not really new, and further served to solidify the separation of viewpoints among the presidential candidates.

So far, the Biden campaign has provided perhaps the most detailed plan to address the insolvency issue, issuing a four-point campaign that would:

  • Raise taxable maximum to $400,000, leaving portion between the max and current limit untaxed.
  • Use CPI-E to calculate COLA.
  • Increase the full retirement age benefit (PIA) for older Americans (ages 78-72).
  • Increase special minimum for lower-wage earners.

On the Republican side, only Candidate Nikki Haley has put forth specific suggestions, like Increasing the full retirement age to “match life expectancy” and limiting benefits for the wealthy. Ron DeSantis has indicated that he would consider program changes that would affect younger Americans, while maintaining the program’s commitment to older Americans. Vivek Ramaswamy has likewise stressed maintaining commitments to existing seniors as well as tweaking the “quirks” in Social Security at address the problem. Donald Trump’s position has repeatedly been to protect the program by doing nothing, although he recently shifted to the use of oil revenue to bolster the program’s finances.

So, there’s a fair amount of disparity among the candidates, and the campaign rhetoric will likely sharpen in the weeks and months ahead. Stay tuned here for updates as they emerge and, while you’re doing that, consider that many sources outside the political ranks are paying close attention to the issue and are consistently putting forth constructive approaches to addressing the problem. As an example, the Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC), has gone on record with a proposal that eschews tax increases and includes, among other adjustments, slight modifications to cost-of-living adjustments and payments to high-income beneficiaries plus gradual increases to the full (but not early) retirement age.  AMAC is resolute in its mission that Social Security be preserved for current and successive generations and has gotten the attention of lawmakers in D.C., meeting with many congressional offices and staff over the past decade. Visit the AMAC Action website for more detail on this proposed solution to the Social Security solvency problem.

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