You can think what you will of the political parties and individuals who lead them, but the most dangerous people are individuals who mislead and create class envy. They are closely followed by uninformed Americans who want to believe and feel others should pay for what they want or believe they deserve.
Let’s keep our perspective. There are roughly 400 billionaires in the US, not that earn a billion dollars, but have a net worth mostly in stocks and real estate, mostly earned through their own efforts creating or growing businesses. There are about 1,400,000 American household taxpayers who fall in the top 1% and who earn an average $1.2 million. There are 6.7 million in the top 5% and they earn on average $418,218 and they pay 58% of all income taxes.
So, we agree, 0.33% of all Americans should be responsible for paying to increase Social Security benefits for everyone else? Keep in mind that you only need to earn about $160,000 a year to be in the top 5%.
The Social Security system was designed to be paid for by participants and their employers with the eventual benefit based on earnings and years of participation. In addition, the formula that provides the monthly benefit favors lower income workers by providing a higher benefit relative to Social Security taxable earnings. In other words, higher income Americans subsidize lower income.
The only thing wrong with Social Security is the failure of every Congress in the last twenty years to meet its obligation to keep the program sustainable by making minor changes over the years to adjust for the changing population, life expectancy, etc. Every member of Congress knows the facts and has seen the urging of the Trustees to take action.
If Americans want a higher future Social Security benefit they should all be willing to pay a bit more during their working years rather than expecting others to fund it thereby turning Social Security into another form of welfare.
And while we are on this topic, how much more Social Security is enough? What does increasing benefits mean exactly? 5%, 10% more, giving Americans 70% of their pre-retirement income?
It’s nice to throw around buzzwords like “more,” “increase,” “wealthy,” “fair share,” “free” and the like. It’s quite another thing to live in the real world and be honest with people.