Talk about going against the grain. As Republicans and Democrats alike talk about trimming social safety-net programs to reduce deficits, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, is pushing a proposal to increase Social Security benefits.

“There are plenty of ways to … get in a better place in the budget,” Brown said in call with reporters Wednesday. “Cutting social security is not one of them.”

He has signed onto a bill, sponsored by Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, that would make the Social Security benefit formula a tad more generous, would give seniors more robust cost-of-living increases, and would require wealthier Americans to pay more in Social Security taxes.

On that last provision, Social Security taxes are currently capped at the first $113,700 of a person’s income. The Brown-Harkin measure would phase out that cap over five years, so more affluent earners would pay more into the Social Security trust fund.

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