Patricia Maher, a Democratic candidate for Congress in the 2nd District, touted her support of the RAISE (Retirement and Income Security Enhancements) Act. The Act was introduced in Congress on Wednesday by Senators Mark Begich (D-AK) and Patty Murray (D-WA), and is part of a broader, populist effort by progressive Democrats to expand Social Security.
Begich stated that the RAISE Act is "a common sense bill to update, enhance, and protect Social Security in a fiscally responsible way." Murray added that "at a time when Social Security is an increasingly critical source of support for so many, the RAISE Act would make some commonsense updates to ensure our Social Security system is doing everything possible to help seniors and their families".
On her Facebook page, Maher wrote, "If elected I will join congressional Democrats in support of the RAISE Act. The Act would expand Social Security by increasing benefits for divorced spouses, widows and widowers, and students in college or vocational school with retired, disabled, or deceased parents".
The proposed increase in benefits under the RAISE Act would be paid for with a two percent tax on earnings above $400,000 starting in 2015. The payroll tax cap is currently set at $117,000, which means that any income above that amount is not subject to payroll tax.
"Social Security is a highly effective and efficient program, with an almost $3 trillion Trust Fund surplus," continued Maher. "In a time of stagnating wages, high income inequality, and eroding pensions and personal savings, Social Security should be expanded, not cut".
Since its inception in 1935, Social Security has helped to reduce the elderly poverty rate by over forty percent. The program currently averages an annual benefit payment of $15,000 for retirees, keeps 20 million Americans out of poverty, and puts almost $775 billion into the economy.