Sanders’ Social Security Reform

De'Andre Crenshaw
2 min readFeb 16, 2023

Republican lawmakers attacking Social Security have put a key policy difference between the two parties in the news again, and Democrats should use it to their advantage. While the focus is on Social Security, we need to be honest. The solvency of Social Security is in jeopardy. By the Social Security Admins estimates, if we do not reform the program, it will be unable to sustain its current benefits, and cuts will be necessary for it to continue beyond 2035. That is something Democrats can not allow. We are the party of the 99%, a functional government, and we support poverty reduction and prevention, so now is the best time to prove it.

First, consider how many Americans rely on Social Security for their retirement, especially as pension plans are almost nonexistent, and 401ks alone are often unable to sustain a person in retirement. With that in mind, instead of just criticizing Republicans for calling for cuts to the program as it is unsustainable or kicking the can down the road, we should move from messaging to action.

Some Democrats have begun the process; Senator Bernie Sanders has put out his plan to increase the solvency for 75 years, along with increasing the payout. I support Sander’s plan not just because it pushes the solvency likely beyond my life (I would be nearly 107 if his plan passed), but the other issue of people’s 401k often being insufficient would be solved by the increased payout (about 200 a month) and setting the floor for benefits to 18,000.

We are one of the least generous nations regarding our safety net, and this is a chance to fix that at a low cost. Sanders’s plan only requires eliminating the cap on the payroll tax of 160,000, and the same 12.4% tax workers pay on payroll be applied to investment and business income previously exempted. Social Security has lifted millions out of poverty and prevented many more from falling into it, but now is the time to transform it into a retirement system that will give people dignity in old age or disability, we can afford it and ought to.