Social Security recipients deserve more
Pay for benefit increase by ending corporate bonus loophole
What follows is a slightly edited version of a message Sen. Elizabeth Warren sent out on Thursday to supporters via email.
Three weeks ago, the Social Security Administration made a quiet announcement.
Next year, for just the third time since 1975, seniors who receive Social Security won’t be getting an annual cost of living increase. Neither will millions of other Americans whose veterans’ benefits, disability benefits, and other monthly payments are pegged to Social Security.
Two-thirds of retirees depend on Social Security to pay for the basics, to put food on the table, and keep a roof over their heads – but seniors who usually get a small boost on January 1 won’t see an extra dime next year. That’s why today, I’m introducing the Seniors and Veterans Emergency (SAVE) Benefits Act – a one-time payment equivalent to a Social Security benefits increase of 3.9 percent.
But here’s the kicker: taxpayers like you subsidize huge pay packages for CEOs through billions of dollars in giveaways, including a crazy loophole that allows corporations to write off obscene executive bonuses as a business expense for “performance pay.”
Our new SAVE Benefits Act would give seniors and veterans a benefits boost without adding a single penny to the deficit simply by closing that performance pay loophole. In fact, closing that tax loophole would create enough revenue to give seniors and vets this 3.9 percent emergency boost and still have money left over for the Social Security Trust Fund to help extend the life of Social Security.
Think about what this change would mean. A one-time 3.9 percent Social Security payment is worth about $581 a person next year – a little less than $50 a month. For someone barely scraping by on a $1,250 Social Security check each month, $581 would cover almost three months of groceries, or a year’s worth of out-of-pocket costs for a Medicare beneficiary’s prescription drugs. According to an analysis, that little boost could lift more than 1 million Americans out of poverty. That’s a big deal.This is about choices. We have the money to do this – only right now that money goes to fund a loophole that benefits corporate CEOs. We could use exactly that same money to help out seniors and vets – and make the Social Security system more stable. For me, it’s pretty straightforward: Our spending should reflect our values.
Elizabeth Warren is a US senator from Massachusetts.