Social Security is not going anywhere, end of discussion. And no, raising the taxable wage cap is not the reason.
The following exchange is from letters to the New York Times in response to a Krugman opinion piece. Note what I placed in bold; they are all wrong.
- A “modest increase in revenue” is code for raise taxes and to fix Social a Security it’s not modest
- “A simple raising the cap” does not fix the problem, in fact it doesn’t even fix half of the problem even if you eliminate the cap entirely
- “Modestly reduced benefits” is about a 25% cut
“I would be fine with seeing my contributions to Social Security and Medicare decline substantially or disappear because I know that the program will not exist for me,” Collin Slattery of New York City wrote in response to a recent column by Paul Krugman. “My generation will never see one dollar from Social Security. Not one.”
Mr. Slattery reflects a widespread view. Half of all adults younger than the Baby Boom generation believe they will receive no Social Security benefits at all by the time they’re ready to retire, according to a Pew Research Center poll in 2014.
The program’s shortfalls are entirely fixable, Mr. Krugman wrote in “Republicans Against Retirement.”
“No, Social Security does not face a financial crisis; its long-term funding shortfall could easily be closed with modest increases in revenue,” he wrote.
Eleven readers responded to Mr. Slattery, mostly in an effort to dispel concerns about the program’s sustainability.
“I believed that when I was your age also and yet, here it is 40 years later going strong,” Lori Bell wrote from West Union, Iowa. “A simple raising the cap” on the amount of income taxed “would fix the problem for many years after you retire also.”
“Your generation will see much more than one dollar from Social Security,” Scott Mentink of Vashon, Wash., wrote. “Even if nothing were ever done to shore Social Security up, there is enough money coming in to pay” modestly reduced benefits far into the future.
Government data support their arguments. The Congressional Budget Office said in 2010 that imposing the Social Security tax on higher incomes would eliminate shortfalls. Right now, income above about $120,000 is not taxed for Social Security.
Here is a summary of the findings and estimates from the Congressional Budget Office. What you see is a need for broad-based tax increases on every working American. Other unpleasant options for retirees are changes in the COLA, the retirement age or early retirement adjustments.
Despite all the rhetoric, there will be a fix and Social Security will go on. The real question is will the original intent of Social Security be preserved or will we seek a quick fix as some of the writers above and many politicians suggest and turn the program into welfare.
Sadly, we seem to be in an age of buying any idea that convinces us billionaires and the upper income middle class are the same and merely by raising their taxes all our problems will be solved and life will be fair again.
When did we become the America of seeking the easy way out and allowing our populist politicians to lead us around by the nose?
Fixing Social Security fairly requires changes involving every living American and every American yet to be born.