Another Tax-the-Rich Plan Introduced in Congress

By Susan Jones | March 8, 2013 | 8:45am EST

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) wants wealthy Americans to pay more into Social Security. (AP Photo)

( - Congressional liberals aren't done taxing wealthy Americans.

On Thursday, Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) introduced the "Keeping Social Security Promises Act," which asks the wealthiest Americans to "pay their fair share into the fund."

"The people on top are doing phenomenally well," Sanders told a news conference on Thursday. "It is time to ask them to help us, in this case with making sure Social Security is there for our kids and grandchildren."

The bill would require those with yearly incomes of $250,000 or more to pay the same 6.2 percent payroll tax that is currently assessed on those who earn up to $113,700 a year.

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"People are quite dependent upon Social Security now," DeFazio said, because they haven't been able to save enough money: "That's not going to change at any predictable time in the future."

DeFazio noted that more and more people are outliving their savings: "And they become more and more dependent on Social Security, even if they had pretty well provided for themselves, if they live to an older age."

Sanders and DeFazio say the current funding system is "terribly unfair."

"Right now an American that makes about $113,000 a year pays the same amount of money into the Social Security system as a millionaire or a billionaire. And that is because today all income above $113,000 is exempt from the Social Security payroll tax," Sanders explained. "As a result, 94 percent of Americans pay Social Security tax on all of their income, but the wealthiest 6 percent do not. And this is wrong."

Sanders argued against privatizing Social Security or reducing benefits: The solution to saving the Social Security program, he insisted, is to lift the cap on payroll taxes.

"In other words 98.7 percent of American workers would not see their taxes go up by one dime under this bill."

According to Sanders, "This is an effort to raise taxes on the people who are doing phenomenally well, who are the most upper income people in America. I would just remind everybody, a fact that is not currently well reported, that the last study we have seen on income distribution in American suggests that between 2009 and 2011, 100 percent of all new income went to the top 1 percent, while the bottom 99 percent, including some pretty wealthy people, actually lost incomes."

In his 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama argued against cutting Social Security benefits: He said adjusting the cap on payroll taxes was the way to go.

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