Those policymakers proposing raising Social Security’s retirement age should recognize what a dramatic change this would be for millions of American workers. Instead of protecting future generations, raising the retirement age will dramatically cut benefits for younger generations of workers, especially those at lower-income levels.
According to the Social Security Trustees, the Social Security Trust Fund will be able to pay full benefits until 2034, and incoming payroll taxes will be sufficient to pay about 77 percent of benefits thereafter. Some are using this modest gap in long-term funding as a pretext to justify proposals for large cuts in Social Security benefits destined to reduce the federal deficit. One option being discussed would reduce or eliminate Social Security benefits for moderate to higher-income individuals - that is, means-testing Social Security. The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare opposes such proposals and believes their adoption would break faith with American workers.
The 2017 Social Security Trustees Report, released in July 2017, projects a modest 2.2 percent cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) for 2018. The National Committee is disappointed and not convinced that these estimates –with some more recent projections pointing to an even smaller COLA – accurately reflects the inflation affecting today’s seniors. We believe that Social Security's COLA needs to be strengthened.
The National Committee supports allowing the Medicare program to negotiate directly for drugs and to provide the program with meaningful tools to encourage manufacturers to price products fairly. We also have supported proposals to use inflation caps in Medicare. The National Committee is evaluating reference price proposals and has not taken a position.
The nation’s current minimum wage of $7.25 per hour has not been increased since 2007. The Raise the Wage Act of 2017 (S. 1242 and H.R. 15), introduced by Senators Patty Murray, Bernie Sanders and Representatives Bobby Scott and Keith Ellison would increase the federal minimum wage from its current rate of $7.25 per hour in eight steps to $15 per hour by 2024. The first step in 2017 would raise the minimum wage to $9.25 per hour. Although many retirees may question what impact an increase in the minimum wage would have on their lives, the increase could make a difference for seniors.