Unfortunately, Republican politicians are not listening to their voters. The Republican Study Committee, a group that counts 156 House Republicans as members, released a budget last year that would make massive cuts to Social Security benefits, including raising the full retirement age to 70. It does not lift the cap or otherwise raise a dime of additional revenue from the wealthy.
Republican politicians are focused on protecting their wealthy donors, who are paying less into Social Security than ever. The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) recently found that as inequality increases, a record share of all earnings are above the $160,200 cap on Social Security contributions.
In 1983, the last time Congress made major reforms to Social Security, they set the cap at a level that covered 90 percent of all wage income, leaving only 10 percent above the cap. But they didn’t count on the rising inequality of the last forty years. The percent of wage income outside the cap has nearly doubled — in 2021, nearly 20 percent of wage income was outside the cap. And that doesn’t even include unearned investment income, which accounts for the huge bulk of the income of the wealthiest!