Elizabeth Warren wants Social Security beneficiaries to get the same raise top CEOs got last year.
The Democratic Massachusetts Senator introduced legislation that would give seniors, people with disabilities, veterans and others a one-time payment of roughly $580. The payment equates to a 3.9 increase in Social Security benefits, the same raise that top CEOs got in 2014.
Without Warren’s legislation, there will be zero increase in Social Security benefits in 2016, only the third time that has happened since automatic cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) were put in place in 1975. COLA amounts are based on the CPI-W, or consumer price index for workers, which many say is the wrong index to use for Social Security. The CPI-W went down this year, mostly due to lower gas prices, but most retirees and people with disabilities do not commute to work, so they are not saving as much money on gas. In addition, medical costs have increased faster than overall inflation, a cost that disproportionately affects Social Security recipients.
Warren’s bill, the Seniors and Veterans Emergency (SAVE) Benefits Act, is co-sponsored by 18 other Democratic Senators, including Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. Its $40 billion cost would be paid by closing a tax loophole that allows corporations to take unlimited deductions on pay that is performance-based, including CEO bonuses.
Many observers credit Sen. Warren with changing the terms of the debate on Social Security. As recently as 2013, both Democrats and Republicans were talking about benefit cuts. Now, many Democratic lawmakers, and Democratic Presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley, are on record as supporting the expansion and strengthening of Social Security.