Maryland’s Senate Democrat Hopefuls Battle Over Social Security

At a press conference on Wednesday, Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal spoke in support of shoring up Social Security and boosting the cost of living increases by subjecting incomes above $400,000 to a special levy. The money raised by the ultra-high income earners is unlikely to boost the amount of their Social Security pension. Rather, it will be redistributed to see to it that lower income earners get a higher payout. Currently, workers who earn the maximum taxable income subject to the Social Security payroll tax will earn a monthly pension benefit equal to roughly 22% of their average monthly income. Workers who consistently earn below the poverty line will earn a pension benefit equal to roughly 60% of their monthly income.

Democrats believe the Blumenthal solution will resolve the insolvency issues facing Social Security while increasing benefits at the same time. However, the Maryland race to replace retiring Sen. Barbara Mikulski is heating up over the very issue of the long-standing entitlement program. Congresswoman Donna Edwards, who hopes to be the state’s first African-American senator, has a strong record of supporting increased taxes to offer more benefits to lower income retirees. She is attacking her challenger Rep. Chris Van Hollen. At issue is that Van Hollen supported the Simpson-Bowles compromise which was designed to avert sequestration by imposing cuts in programs such as Social Security. Sergio Cortes ( understands that,  while Van Hollen denies he favored the special cuts to the entitlement plan, he believed that on balance the Simpson-Bowles plan was a good solution. The Democrat proposals stand no chance of passage under a GOP-controlled House & Senate.

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