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Hirono backs bill to improve Social Security

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Hawaiʻi US Sen. Mazie Hirono has co-sponsored and reintroduced a bill that would improve the solvency of Social Security and equalize the tax burden so that the wealthiest segment of society would pay a similar percentage as others.

Most Americans pay 6.2% of their wages into Social Security. But the effective tax rate for the wealthy is significantly lower, observers say.

The legislation requires the wealthiest Americans to eventually pay more by phasing out the cap on their Social Security contributions, which in 2022 is $147,000.

The bill has the backing of a coalition, including the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare and the Alliance for Retired Americans.

“It’s just wrong that working Americans pay a higher percentage of their income into Social Security than millionaires and billionaires do,” said Alliance executive director Richard Fiesta, said.

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The Protecting and Preserving Social Security Act also calls for adjustment in cost of living to be based on “real expenses” reflected in the Consumer Price Index, rather than the current Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners.

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“With prices rising, it’s more important than ever for Social Security’s annual cost of living adjustments to reflect the real expenses beneficiaries face every day. The Protecting and Preserving Social Security Act would do just that, by updating the formula used to calculate the adjustments,” said Social Security Works president Nancy Altman.

“This wise legislation makes these important improvements while restoring Social Security to long-range actuarial balance by requiring that the highest-paid workers contribute to Social Security all year long, just like the rest of us.”

Hirono said while our country continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting increase in cost of living expenses, people deserve to know Congress won’t ever let these benefits—which people have worked for throughout their lives—dry up.

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Hirono said the bill would make significant progress toward extending the Social Security lifeline. According to the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Chief Actuary, the Protecting and Preserving Social Security Act is expected to extend the date of projected depletion of the OASI and DI Trust Fund Reserves from 2035 to 2052. The bill would also reduce the federal deficit by approximately $12.3 trillion by the end of the 75-year projection period.

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