AARP claims that their openness—read: support—for cuts to Social Security benefits is based on an understanding that tax increases alone will not close the program’s modest funding gap. But that’s just not true. If we made millionaires and billionaires contribute to Social Security on all of their earnings, rather than $106,800 as they do now, the program would be solvent for the next 75 years. Click here for a complete fact sheet on scrapping the cap.
Here is a summary of AARP’s defense of its case in Huffington Post: “The Journal reported that AARP policy chief John Rother is pushing the organization to accept benefit cuts as part of a deal to make Social Security solvent. Rother’s thinking, according to the paper, is that tax increases alone can’t keep the program’s $2.6 trillion trust fund from running out of money, so benefit cuts must be included as well.”
That is not true. The easiest way Social Security could be fixed without touching benefits is closing the loophole that allows millionaires and billionaires to contribute to Social Security from their first $106,800 of earnings. Scrapping that cap so that the rich pay into the program on all of their earnings, without counting the new earnings toward benefits, would make Social Security for the next 75 years. Click here for a short fact sheet and explanation of how scrapping the cap would solve Social Security’s problems.
Scrapping the cap is not just appealing because it is good, progressive policy. It is also incredibly popular. Nationwide, two-thirds of voters support scrapping the cap, including a large majority of Republicans. Even voters in swing states support scrapping the cap.
It’s bad enough that AARP is betraying the wishes of its members and throwing its support behind benefit cuts. Doing it under the false pretense that benefit cuts are inevitable is even worse. If they really wanted to help the program, they’d scrap the cap on earnings subject to Social Security taxes.