(COMMON DREAMS) Andrea Germanos, November 4, 2015 — Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced legislation on Thursday that would provide tens of millions of Americans with an emergency payment while tackling a corporate loophole that boosts CEO pay.
The legislation, the SAVE Benefits Act (pdf), is in response to the blow dealt roughly 65 million Americans last month when the Social Security Administration announced that there would be no annual cost-of-living increase for 2016.
It would provide an emergency payment of about $580—that’s equal to 3.9 percent of the average annual Social Security benefit—which could help some 70 million seniors, veterans, people with disabilities, and others meet critical needs, a statement from the senators explains.
The 3.9 percent isn’t a random figure—that’s the increase in CEO compensation for the top 350 U.S. firms last year. The average salary of those CEOs was $16.3 million.
“This discrepancy [between increased CEO compensation and lack of raise for Social Security beneficiaries] isn’t an accident. It’s the result of choices made by Congress,” a fact sheet (pdf) for the Act states.
The legislation would fund the emergency payments by closing a tax loophole that allows publicly traded companies to deduct so-called performance-based executive pay. Extra funds would be used to strengthen the Social Security and Disability trust funds. A 2013 report from advocacy group Public Citizen found that the loophole for just the 20 highest paid CEOs had cost taxpayers as much as $235 million in lost tax revenue.