WBA Debate Topic: Social Security

1. We’re going to ask a couple of questions here on social security. According to the Social Security Administration, by 2034, the trust fund that pays out retirement benefits will no longer be able to make full payments to retirees. This first question is more narrow. Sen. Johnson, to address this concern, you’ve said you want to make social security a discretionary program, meaning Congress could make changes to it in each budget. Lt. Gov. Barnes, you’ve said you oppose that. Why is or isn’t it a good idea to make social security subject to changes in each budget?

2. Following up– polls overwhelmingly show retirees want to ensure they don’t have to worry that their social security benefits will be cut in the future. Right now, workers pay into social security on the wages they earn up to $147,000; wages above that are not taxed for social security. Would you support taxing higher wages to fully fund social security well into the future?

  • ​​REPORT: In 2034, retirees will start receiving a reduced benefit to Social Security if Congress doesn’t fix funding issues for the social program (CNBC)
  • According to a recent AARP poll, voters ages 50 and up named Social Security as one of the top “most important issues” impacting their vote for Senate. Social Security and Medicare trailed behind inflation, abortion and taxes.
  • In August, Ron Johnson said funding for Medicare and Social Security should be approved by Congress every year and not be automatically renewed (WPR)