Whitehouse, Boyle Legislation to Protect Social Security for All, Make Wealthiest Pay Fairer Share Will Extend Solvency Indefinitely

Social Security Administration’s Chief Actuary finds the Medicare and Social Security Fair Share Act, which abides by President Biden’s pledge not to raise taxes on those making less than $400,000, would extend Social Security solvency for more than 75 years

Washington, D.C.—New analysis released today by the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Chief Actuary finds the Medicare and Social Security Fair Share Act, originally introduced by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and with companion legislation introduced today by Congressman Brendan F. Boyle (D-PA-02), would extend Social Security solvency indefinitely by making the nation’s highest earners contribute their fair share. The Chief Actuary’s letter was issued in response to a joint request from Senator Whitehouse, Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, and Congressman Boyle, Ranking Member of the House Budget Committee.

“The mega-rich—taking advantage of our rigged tax code—have avoided paying Social Security taxes on most of their income, threatening the promise of Social Security for future generations,” said Senator Whitehouse. “But as the new analysis from the Social Security Administration shows, we can protect this bedrock program for all and improve our broken tax code—a win-win in my book. Republicans recently joined Democrats in promising not to cut Social Security, which leaves raising revenue as the only option to protect the program. I invite my Republican colleagues to join me in shoring up this vital lifeline by leveling the playing field so that teachers, nurses, and firefighters aren’t paying more of their income in taxes than billionaires.”

“From my first day in Congress, I pledged to fight any efforts to weaken the stability and soundness of earned Social Security & Medicare benefits for millions of Americans,” said Congressman Boyle. “This legislation saves Social Security and Medicare for generations to come. Social Security and Medicare represent a commitment made by this country decades ago to honor the dignity and independence of senior citizens and disabled citizens. Rather than tearing these programs down, as some in Congress want to do, we should be strengthening and securing them.”

Social Security benefits, which workers earn by contributing throughout their working lives, help support elderly Americans, their children, and disabled workers. In February 2023, fully 20% of the entire U.S. population was directly receiving Social Security payments. As the foundation of the U.S. retirement system, the program ensures that all who pay into the system can retire with a guaranteed paycheck, and 97% of seniors either currently receive or will receive benefits.  Social Security is also the nation’s most effective anti-poverty program, and in 2021, it lifted 22 million people out of poverty.  

However, because of rising economic inequality and an aging population, without additional revenue, Social Security will only be able to pay 80% of promised benefits starting in 2035. On Wednesday, July 12, the Senate Budget Committee will hold a hearing to highlight how bipartisan agreement not to cut Social Security means raising additional revenue is the only option. Chief Actuary of the Social Security Administration Stephen Goss will testify.

By making the wealthiest earners—just 2% of taxpayers—pay a fairer share, Social Security will be protected for all while also addressing rampant inequity in the U.S. tax system.

Sen. Whitehouse and Congressman Boyle’s Medicare and Social Security Fair Share Act will:

  • Preserve Medicare and Social Security while safeguarding benefits.
    • Extend Social Security solvency indefinitely and extend Medicare solvency by an estimated 20 years.
  • Require taxpayers with over $400,000 in income to contribute a fairer share to Social Security.
    • Ensure that no matter the source of their income, high-income taxpayers would pay the same tax rate on their income exceeding that threshold.
  • Require taxpayers with incomes above $400,000 to contribute more to Medicare and close a loophole in the law that favors high earners, as proposed by President Biden.
    • Increase the rate for income above $400,000 by 1.2 percent.
    • Ensure that wealthy owners of pass-through businesses like hedge funds and private equity firms with more than $400,000 in annual income cannot avoid Medicare taxes.