Many Republicans and even some Democrats have been talking about cutting Social Security benefits by raising the retirement age or using a Chained CPI to reduce payments.
But Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) set himself apart today by introducing a bill to do the opposite — increase benefits. Under Harkin’s bill, the benefits formula would be readjusted in a way that boosts benefits to beneficiaries by an average of $70 a month. In order to fund this increase and to maintain Social Security benefits for decades to come, Harkin would lift the Social Security payroll tax cap, ensuring that income above $113,700 would be taxed as well.
There are reports that the White House is preparing to offer a deal that would only end the Bush tax cuts on incomes above $400,000 while enacting a watered-down estate tax. These measures offer a major tax cut to the rich over what is currently set to take place in 2013 — tomorrow.
Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) took to the floor just now and denounced this sort of deal:
HARKIN: Mr. President, I was disturbed to read in The Washington Post this morning that some kind of agreements are being made here. Somehow that democrats have agreed to raise the level of, from $250,000 to $450,000, and that somehow there’s been an agreement reached that we would keep the estate taxes at the $5 million level, at 35%. Mr. President, this is one Democrat that doesn’t agree with that at all.
[...] Again, if we’re going to have some kind of a deal, the deal must be one that really does favor the middle class, the real middle class, those that are making $50,000, $60,000, $70,000 a year. that’s the real middle class in america. As I see this thing developing, quite frankly, as I’ve said before, no deal is better than a bad deal. and this looks like a very bad deal the way this is shaping up.
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