O'Rourke releases plan to bolster Social Security

O'Rourke releases plan to bolster Social Security
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Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke has unveiled a multipronged plan to bolster Social Security, as the former Texas congressman seeks to gin up support for his lagging White House bid.

O'Rourke argued in his announcement that the plan is necessary in an age when Social Security increasingly comes up short in covering all of seniors’ costs, saying strengthening it would be a “top priority” of his administration. 

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“Americans shouldn’t be forced to sacrifice their retirement security when they take time off from work to raise children, care for an aging parent or support a family member living with disabilities,” O’Rourke said. “We must bring bold, innovative solutions to make our economy work for every single American and ensure that hardworking parents and caregivers can support their loved ones and have what they need when they retire.” 

O’Rourke’s plan calls for a caregiver credit to Social Security that would grant Americans caring for a child under the age of 12 or a family member of any age who needs help performing daily activities a credit equivalent to 50 percent of the average earnings of a full-time, year-round worker. The credit, which O’Rourke says would reduce gender and racial gaps in Social Security benefits, could be collected for five years.

The Texas Democrat goes on to vow to champion the Social Security 2100 Act, which he co-sponsored in the House and would implement increases in Social Security benefits, lower taxes on those benefits and institute a higher minimum benefit to help low-income seniors. Seeking to further shift the burden off low-income recipients, O’Rourke would apply the Social Security tax to wages above $400,000 rather than $133,000.

O’Rourke said if he were elected his administration would also make it easier for people to collect social security benefits from deceased family members. The proposal would allow full-time students aged 22 years or younger to collect a deceased parent’s benefits and permit a surviving spouse to receive 75 percent of a couple’s combined retirement benefit after a partner’s death as long as it does not surpass the benefits of an average earner.

O’Rourke started the 2020 cycle strong, raising over $6 million in 2019’s first quarter, but has stagnated near the bottom of national and statewide primary polls in recent months and hauled in only $3.6 million in the second quarter of the year.