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Another fix for Social Security

By Jennie L. Phipps ·
Monday, March 11, 2013
Posted: 3 pm ET

Raising the cap on Social Security is a fix that many people support as the best way to fix any shortfalls and ensure that vital retirement planning tool remains solvent indefinitely.

Now, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., have jointly proposed a twist on this idea. Rep. Peter DeFazio, an D-Ore., introduced a companion bill in the House.

Their bill would eliminate the cap on payroll taxes on earnings above $250,000. It would not affect earners who make between the current cap -- $113,700 -- and $250,000. The Center for Economic and Policy Research says this change would only affect the top 1.3 percent of workers.

The United Steel Workers, who are advocating passage of this retirement legislation, calculate the effect on someone earning $1 million a year this way:

  • The 12.4 percent payroll tax would be split equally between employer and employee and would be applied to the first $113,700 earned just like it does now.
  • There would be no payroll taxed levied on income between $113,700 and $250,000, but once an employee reached that threshold, he and his employer would again pay into the fund at the same levels.
  • Someone earning $1 million a year would pay an additional $46,500 into Social Security and his employer would pay the same $46,500.
  • In this proposal, workers making more than $250,000 would not receive any increase in Social Security in return for paying more.

These additional contributions would add $85 billion per year to the Social Security fund and ensure that the program was 91 percent solvent over the next 50 years, according to the Social Security Administration.

What do you think? Is this proposal fair or does it punish some of our hardest working, most productive people for their success?

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donald phillips
September 19, 2013 at 7:10 am

tandell the gov.t to quit waisting money-tax payer money-like 2 million dollars on coffee and donuts for just one of a thousand and they could put money in ss-those people are in it just for themselves and no one else period.they are all rich and do not care about any one else.politicians are not for the people anymore-just themselves-they get everything free-why do they cars

End the Ponzi Scheme
March 15, 2013 at 4:11 pm

This is pure redistribution.

It's also not a retirement plan, it's a poverty backstop. You should be able to just get by on social insecurity. If you wanted to take trips, have fun, you should have saved when working, not squandered every penny that came in. Before sobbing that you didn't make enough, had a tough time, etc., consider how many stories keep appearing about people that led normal lives, lived below their means, and left a huge amount to charity at their death. It's possible, but most aren't willing to forgo luxury in order to have a better retirement.

Tom Sturm
March 12, 2013 at 8:13 pm

There is another name for taking an additional $46,500 from both the employer and the employee without issuing additional benefit credits - THEFT.

Larry Nagengast
March 11, 2013 at 4:41 pm

I'm sure there are people earning $1 million or more who are convinced that they deserve every penny that they make. But I don't think you can show me someone making $1 million a year who would have trouble surviving on $950,000 (OK, so it's less than $950K after taxes, but you get the point).
Anything that raises the cap on payroll taxes is a good idea.