Q28: Do you support the protection of Social Security as a federal entitlement program and strengthening it for future generations?
Biden: Yes. Social Security is the bedrock of American retirement. Roughly 90% of retirement-age Americans receive Social Security benefits, and one-in-four rely on Social Security for all, or almost all, of their income. The program has not only ensured that middle-class workers can enjoy the sound and secure retirement they worked so hard for, it also lifted over 17 million older Americans out of poverty in 2017 alone.
My plan will protect Social Security for the millions of Americans who depend on the program. With Social Security’s Trust Fund already in deficit and expected to be exhausted in 2035, we urgently need action to make the program solvent and prevent cuts to American retirees. But my plan doesn’t stop there. As president, I will strengthen benefits for the most vulnerable older Americans – including widows and widowers, lifelong workers with low monthly benefits, and old-age beneficiaries who may have exhausted their other savings. I will put Social Security on a path to long-run solvency, provide a higher benefit for the oldest Americans, and implement a true minimum benefit for lifelong workers. View details of my plan to preserve and strengthen Social Security HERE.
Bloomberg: Yes. Mike will strengthen and improve Social Security by introducing a new minimum benefit and adjusting future payments in line with a cost-of-living measure that better reflects the higher costs (including health costs) that seniors typically face. Mike will assure the system’s financial strength in future years mainly by asking the highest-income households to make bigger contributions to meeting the costs.
Buttigieg: Yes. Washington politicians have failed to address the growing need for a sustainable Social Security system. The Trump administration has attempted to undermine Americans’ retirement by cutting billions of dollars from Social Security over the next decade. I’m determined to usher in a new era for older Americans, one that empowers them to age and retire with security and dignity. I will fully protect Social Security for the next generation without cutting benefits and increase Social Security benefits to keep vulnerable seniors out of poverty.
De La Fuente: Yes. Our Social Security system is broken and needs to be fixed immediately. There is only one solution: raise the retirement age and raise the contributions cap.
Klobuchar: Yes. Social Security has served as a stable and secure retirement guarantee for generations of Americans. Senator Klobuchar believes that this program must remain solvent for generations to come and she will fight against risky schemes to privatize it. As President, Senator Klobuchar will work to lift the Social Security payroll cap. Currently the payroll tax only applies to wages up to $133,000. Senator Klobuchar supports subjecting income above $250,000 to the payroll tax and extending the solvency of Social Security. And Senator Klobuchar will make sure people are treated fairly by the current Social Security system. As President, she will work to strengthen and improve Social Security benefits for widows and people who took significant time out of the paid workforce to care for their children, aging parents, or sick family members.
Sanders: Yes. At a time when about half of American households over the age of 55 have no retirement savings and one out of five seniors are trying to live on less than $13,500 a year, our job is not to cut Social Security. Our job is to expand Social Security so that everyone in this country can retire with the dignity they have earned and everyone with a disability can live with the security they need.
Social Security is the most successful government program in our nation’s history. Before Social Security was signed into law, nearly half of seniors lived in poverty. Today, while much too high, the poverty rate for seniors is down to 9.2 percent. Through good times and bad, Social Security has paid every nickel owed to every eligible American – on time and without delay. That is an extraordinary accomplishment.
Despite what you may have heard from those who want to cut back on Social Security, let’s be clear: Social Security is not “going broke.” Social Security has a $2.9 trillion surplus and can pay every benefit owed to every eligible American for the next 16 years. Although Social Security’s finances are strong, Congress must strengthen and expand it for generations to come. How do we do that? Simple.
At a time of massive income and wealth inequality, the wealthiest Americans in this country must pay their fair share into the system. Today, a billionaire pays the same amount of money into Social Security as someone who makes $132,900 a year because the Social Security payroll tax is capped.
Bernie’s Social Security plan would lift this cap and apply the payroll tax on all income over $250,000.
- We will expand benefits across-the-board including a $1,300 a year benefit increase for seniors with incomes of $16,000 a year or less.
- We will lift millions of seniors out of poverty by increasing the minimum benefits paid to low-income workers when they retire.
- We will increase cost-of-living adjustments to keep up with the rising cost of health care and prescription drugs by establishing a Consumer Price Index for the Elderly.
- And we will protect and expand the Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income programs by reversing the Trump Administration’s attack on SSDI/SSI, ending the massive disability application backlog, putting a stop to SSI’s draconian asset test and marriage penalty, and raising the SSI benefit level to 125 percent of the poverty level, lifting millions out of poverty.
Steyer: Yes. Social Security is an intergenerational contract. Millions have paid into the program through their working years, earned benefits, and expect it to be there when they retire. Almost all elderly Americans receive Social Security benefits, however, one in three seniors are still economically insecure. Social Security provides a foundation of retirement protection for people at all earnings levels, but policy strategies are needed to help alleviate economic insecurity in what should be ones “Golden Years”. I will explore options to increase benefits and implement cost of living adjustments for those who rely on the system. I will oppose any effort to raise the retirement age, means-test, or cut Social Security benefits or cost-of-living adjustments. We will ensure the program’s solvency by making more income subject to the Social Security payroll tax (“raise the cap”), increasing benefits, and making sure that they actually keep up with seniors’ true cost-of-living.
Warren: Yes. One thing is clear: it’s getting harder to save enough for a decent retirement and Social Security has become a main source of income for most seniors. On average, Latinx and Black workers are less likely to have 401(k) accounts, and those who do have them have smaller balances and are more likely to have to make withdrawals before retirement. As of 2014, nearly 33% of Black beneficiaries relied on Social Security benefits as their only source of retirement income. My plan to expand social security benefits would: – Immediately increase Social Security benefits by $200 a month – $2,400 a year – for every current and future beneficiary; – Update outdated rules to further increase benefits for lower-income families, people of color, women, people with disabilities, and public-sector works; and – Immediately lift an estimated 4.9 million seniors out of poverty. You can read more about my plan to expand Social Security here: https://elizabethwarren.com/plans/social- security