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Why Expanding Social Security Is Crucial to Addressing Inequality in America in 2014

The political pendulum is swinging away from Social Security cutters.

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“Only 2 percent of women in America make over $106,000,” she said. “So, of course, no one knows there is a cap. This is the biggest loophole that people didn’t know about in the tax structure.”

The added revenues would not just fortify Social Security’s long-term finances, but allow benefits to be adjusted and expanded. First, the government could use a more accurate inflation gauge to calculate real cost of living increases for the elderly, instead of deliberately undercutting it as has done since the mid-1980s. Elderly Americans have higher energy and healthcare costs, for example, in contrast to younger demographic cohorts.

The increased revenues could be used to improve benefits for people who really need them: such as have a minimum benefit of not less than 125 percent of the poverty line (other proposals say 150 percent); increasing what widows receive after spouses die; increasing what students get when parents die; and other adjustments that cost little but would make big quality-of-life differences.   

It’s remarkable that Washington’s political establishment—from the House GOP, to Obama’s White House, to Washington Post editorials—sees the solution as cutting Social Security in future decades. There may no issue where they are more  out of sync with the public, Lake said. The bottom line is Social Security won’t be broke for 20 years and simple, fair-minded fixes will not only make it solvent for decades, but expand it so no elderly Americans fall into poverty.

“Don’t listen to anyone in the Beltway,” Lake said. “Real people are wildly in favor of Social Security, wildly supportive of it. And this is a voting issue in 2014. We will have a record number of seniors [who are going to get] out to vote. And the senior vote is swinging back and forth between the two parties. This is going to be a very key issue and a very key vote. And it’s not, frankly, just for seniors.”

These are the individuals who have contributed to AlterNet's Retirement Crisis Reporting Fund:

Nancy Adams | Maria Alvarez | Dolores Amato | Sara Baker | Jerry Banks | Catherine Barnes | Patti Batchelder | Maryann Bayne | William Bell | Hugo Benoit | Werner Bergman | Lisa Beutler | Patricia Bewley | Gary Billey | Gary Binderimz | Rosemarie Blake | Bhikkhu Bodhi | Robert Bottman | Christopher Boutelle | Angus Bowen | B. Bowers | Charles Brainard | Kern Braswell | Catherine Brave | Jody Breslaw | Kim Brown | Marilyn Bruning | Bonnie Burkart | John Burke | Jeffrey Cancilla | Alice Canty | Dorothy Cinquemani | Kenneth Clark | Suzan Clausen | Robert Cohen | Harriet Cohen | Sandra Colombo | Michael Conley | Casey Conner | | Eugene Constant | Rachel Cooke | Peter Costello | Sydney Crawford | Iris Culter | Kathleen Daugherty | Gary Davis | Michael Davis | Richard Dawson | Jorge De Cecco | Kenneth Deed | Nandi Devam | Kim Dexter | J.A. Dingman | Elizabeth DiPalma | Patricia Dodds | John Doheny, Jr. | Gloria Donohue | Don Dougherty | Albert Driscoll | Stu Duckman | Ronald Dumont | Kim Ecclesine | Nancy Eckel | Cynthia Ellsmore | Edwin Engelmann | Judith Espovich | Virginia Eyman | Matthew Farrell | Karen Fedorov | Perrin Ferris | Thomas Firpo | Carolyn Fletcher | Christopher Flores | Terry Fontenot | Barbara Ford | Thomas Friel | Linda Fulton | Larry Gaylord | Marion Gehlker | David Glater | Nancy Goldberg | Donald Goldmacher | Alison Gomez | Florence Granowitter | Emily Greene | David Griscom | Terrence Grywinski | Shawn Hansen | Debra Harpole | Louise Harris | George Hart | Stuart Hartley | Bill Healey | Geoffrey Hendricks | Robert Henning | Marion Hirseman | Martin Hittelman | Cathy Hoot | James Hopkins | David Huhn | Will Husa| Ayed Hyder | Linda Irenegreen | Aaron Jacobs | Bobie Johnson | Wynn Kapit | Elizabeth Kelley | Jae Kenworthy | Ronald Kestler | Anita Kichefski | Jeremy Kilborn | W. Kimzey | Kerry Kleiber | Denise Kobylarz | Sandra Korn | Nancy Kranich | John Kyper | Bruce Lee | Marilyn Lee | Theodore Leibowitz | Carol Lemieux | Henry Lesnick | Betty Leyerle | Ellen Linnemanstons | Robert Lipsyte | Joan and Wallace MacDonald | Susan MacMillan | Charlene Maker | Barry Maloney | Josepha Maly | Tommy Mandel | Lawrence Mar | Louis Mariani | Joseph Mastalski | Annie Masters | Chris Matthews| George Matkovits| Kay Matthews| Frank McEvoy| Gail McMullen| Kevin Meismer| Elizabeth Mewhinney| Mary Micek| Rosemary Migas | Claire Mills |  Jonathan Morris | Nina Murano | Christine Murphy | John Murrill | Deborah Mytels | Jean Naples|  Peter Nasatir| Aileen Nelson| Terrance Newton| Deborah Nitasaka| D. Ocker| Janet Ohlhausen| Clifford Olin| Judith Pearson| Charles Percival | Jeanne-Marie Peterson | Mary Peterson | Cynthia Peterson | Ted Pfeiff | Brian Porter | Rudolph Radau | Joseph Rainho | Richard Rayford | Lisa Reswick | Debbie Richards | Sharon Richey | Leonard Rifas | Marvin Ritzenhaler | Nancy Roca | Edwin Rogers | Sue Rosen | Richard Ross | Nancy Ryan | Susan Salazar | Joseph Sanchez | Terry Sanders | Elizabeth Sands | Carole Sauriol | Carol Scher | Scott Scherman | Wanda Schertz | Gerda Seaman | Carolyn Semiglasow | Marlene Shaner | Elaine Simon | Crystal Sloa | Sara Sogut| Helen Sohne| Priscilla Solomon| Wayne Stinson| Patricia Stroud| Francis Sullivan, Jr.| Jyun Takagi| Tasmin Taylor| Diane Thatcher | C. Thompson | Keith Thornton | Lisa Tomchesson | Priscilla Toth | Catherine Twohill | Eric Weis | Teresa Welborn | Wilma A. Wheeler | Joel White | Dolores Whitman | Terry and Barbara Williams | Hugh Wilson | Liddy Wilson | Carroll M. Wilson | Eric Wilson | Jack Wilson | Charles Witt | William Woodward | James Woolsey | Eleanor Wynn | Christine Wynne | David Yamada | Leroy York, II | James Young | Marian Zaouk | Susan Zencka

 
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