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2019-02-03 — nytimes.com

The Social Security 2100 Act, which was introduced this past week in the House and the Senate, represents a sea change after decades dominated by concern that aging baby boomers would bankrupt the government as they begin drawing benefits from Social Security and other entitlement programs.

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The bill would provide an across-the-board benefit increase equivalent to about 2 percent of the average Social Security benefit. It would raise the annual cost-of-living adjustment to reflect the fact that older Americans tend to use more of some services like health care. And it would increase the minimum benefit to ensure that workers with many years of low earnings do not retire into poverty.

The bill would cut federal income taxes on Social Security benefits for about 12 million middle-income people while raising taxes elsewhere. The payroll tax rate would rise to 14.8 percent over the next 24 years, from 12.4 percent, and the payroll tax would be imposed on earnings over $400,000 a year.

The maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security payroll tax this year is $132,900. The proposal would, in effect, create a doughnut hole, where earnings from $132,900 to $400,000 would not be taxed.

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Nonpartisan actuaries at the Social Security Administration say that the program will soon be spending more than it takes in and that the trust funds for retirement and disability benefits will be depleted by 2034 if Congress makes no changes.

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Of all the money raised by the bill, about one-fourth would be used to increase benefits, and the rest would cover projected deficits in the Social Security trust over the next 75 years.

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Andrew G. Biggs, a Republican who was the principal deputy commissioner of Social Security under President George W. Bush, praised some features of Mr. Larson's bill.

"It doesn't just fix Social Security for 75 years," Mr. Biggs said. "It would keep the system permanently solvent. That's a real plus."

On the other hand, Mr. Biggs said: "The bill would give a lot of money to middle- and upper-income retirees who are already doing well. And it would significantly increase payroll taxes on workers."

Ruh-roh -- so the Dems are snatching the mantle of the party that wants to propose realistic reform to make SS more fair and solvent, and not be just a sop to the financial industry... this is quite a jiu-jitsu move!

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