(Oct. 18, 2016) — The M.K. King County Council approved a motion Monday supporting the expansion of the Social Security and Medicare programs and benefits and the elimination of the cap on earnings that are subject to the Social Security payroll tax, expressing the intent that these positions be included in King County’s federal legislative agenda.
In doing so, the council joins the Seattle City Council, the Democratic Party, and President Barack Obama in calling for Social Security and Medicare expansion. Given the nation’s looming retirement crisis, the idea of expanding Social Security and Medicare, as opposed to cutting or privatizing the programs as proposed by Republicans, is gaining momentum.
The following statement was released after Monday’s council vote by Robby Stern, President of Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action and Chair of the Social Security Works WA Coalition:
“On behalf of Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action and Social Security Works WA, I want to commend the M.L. King County Council members for supporting a life of dignity for our older citizens.
“Social Security and Medicare must be expanded to meet the economic realities of the 21st century. Social Security provides too little in the way of benefits to most people who’ve worked, paid taxes and contributed to their communities throughout their lives. We can cover improvements for Social Security by eliminating the ‘cap’ that allows the highest-income people to pay the lowest percentage of Social Security taxes.
“We must expand Medicare to cover vision, hearing and dental services. We can expand Medicare by raising the payroll tax from 1.45% to 2%, which would generate approximately $90 billion to help cover the essential services. Additionally, we can open Medicare to a younger cohort bringing healthier participants in to the system. The benefits of these two programs must be expanded so that recipients can live the productive and dignified lives we’ve earned.
“Today’s Council vote urges our representatives in Congress to push for these changes. We applaud the Council members’ vision, foresight and commitment to their constituents and look forward to success in Washington, D.C.”