The U.S. Needs A Social Safety Net

Thomas F Campenni
3 min readJun 2, 2021

The Democrats have ambitious new plans. If they ever become law, America will not be the same place. I believe that we will wonder how the county ever existed without these new programs (if passed) like the way people now feel about the Affordable Care Act, Social Security, and Medicare.

From universal childcare and VPK to guaranteed family leave and internet access, it is about time that Americans receive the same social safety net that is so common in the rest of the developed world. The key to these types of programs being accepted by Americans is that they are universal. Once everyone is entitled to participate, rich or poor, we will all buy into having that benefit.

If the government proceeds to try and limit who can participate by income, then in tough times politicians will seek to lessen the benefits or eliminate the programs entirely.

Wherever possible, I would employ a voucher system. The more decisions that can be left to individual families the better. I agree with Senators Romney and Rubio that if a family member wants to stay home with their children, then they should be eligible to receive a payment.

Paying for increased social programs can only be done through taxation. As a country, we are substantially undertaxed. The top 10% of taxpayers remit over 90% of all the personal income taxes paid to the federal government. This is not equitable. The bottom 50% receive benefits and pay $0 in income taxes. The rich should pay more but so too should everyone.

I have recently heard from some media outlets that the Biden administration is looking to raise taxes on those making less than $400,000. That would violate his pledge not to do so. Upon looking into that statement, I found he is not proposing tax hikes. The Trump tax cuts of 2017 expire in 2025, so the president allowing them to sunset is not raising taxes. The legislation was passed and signed into law by a Republican Congress and president with that expiration date.

According to the Tax Policy Center, the Trump tax cuts benefited disproportionately the top 10% but especially the top 1% of income tax filers. Common sense would tell us if most people were not paying income taxes, then cutting rates means nothing. Further the suggested benefit of cutting the corporate tax by 40% just helped to balloon the federal deficit without adding anything to GDP according to the IMF.

The Democrats of 2021 are not the Democrats of 1933. Then they had overwhelming majorities in both Houses as well as FDR as president. Biden was elected to make changes and get the country moving again. He is blocked by a lack of courage in his own party. Democratic senators refuse to reform the filibuster rule to go back even to the 1975 version.

In the Constitution, the Founders did not write that bills needed 60 votes to pass in the Senate. That is an archaic internal Senate rule that needs to change. 51 votes are what should be needed and that is what is written in the Constitution. I wrote this when the Republicans held the majority, and I am writing this today.

Biden has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to move the country forward. He needs to take bold action now to enact his programs. The Senate Democrats need to stop acting as if they do not know what needs to be done.

If this nation begins to provide the programs to our citizens that most other advanced nations provide to theirs, our economy will take off. What is being proposed is what our people deserve. If we can commit to having these universal programs today, in a decade Americans will be wondering how we ever got along without them.

Photo by David Clode on Unsplash



Thomas F Campenni

Currently lives in Stuart Florida and former City Commissioner. His career has been as a commercial real estate owner, broker and manager in New York City.