New GAO Report Provides Startling Details on Disparities and Their Impact
on Social Security Benefits
Growing disparities in life expectancy between America’s rich and poor are eroding the progressive nature of Social Security. A new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, requested by Senator Bernie Sanders, shows that low-income American men will lose 11%-14% of their lifetime Social Security benefits while high-income men will see a 16%-18% benefit boost due to this growing gap.
“This report is especially important when you consider the political push to raise Social Security’s retirement age to reduce benefits. Forcing average Americans to delay retirement until 70, as suggested by some in Washington, would mean even smaller benefits for lower-income groups.
The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare has long opposed increasing the Social Security retirement age as nothing but a cruel cut in benefits, and this GAO report shows exactly how cruel it would be. Instead of cutting Social Security, Congress should boost benefits so that Social Security can continue to fulfill its promise providing an adequate base of income for America’s seniors. Our thanks to Senator Sanders for his strong leadership in requesting this important report. It’s a must-read for any candidate who truly cares about keeping America’s promise of retirement security.”…Max Richtman, NCPSSM President/CEO
America’s wealthiest are not only living longer and collecting more Social Security benefits, they are also contributing less to the program than at any time in recent history. In the past, the Social Security tax cap has been set at a level that covered about 90 percent of all earnings. Currently, however, only about 83 percent of earnings are subject to the Social Security payroll tax. This means the wealthy, who’ve benefited from disproportionate wage growth, have also been exempt from paying into Social Security on those gains above the $118,500 cap.
The National Committee supports legislation, including Senator Sanders’ “Social Security Expansion Act”, which would lift the payroll tax cap, boost benefits and adopt a cost of living formula for seniors.