With Shutdown Averted, Is Social Security Safe? Nope!

Yves here. While this post makes an important point, that Social Security (and almost certainly even more Medicare) are in the cross-hairs of wannabe deficit-cutters, it’s miseleading to depict that aim as a Republican affairs. Both parties have been after Social Security for decades, whether overtly or trying to implement benefit-cutting schemes like “chained CPI” which assure that benefit increases lag inflation.

Bill Clinton wanted to privatize Social Security. We have Monica Lewinsky to thank for that initiative being sidetracked. Obama pursued a “Grand Bargain” of Social Security and Medicare cuts, along with defense spending reductions and tax increases. Fortunately that never got off the ground.

So please don’t swallow the canard that Democrats are the big saviors of Social Security while meanie Republicans want to take it away. They both have it in their crosshairs, but the Democrats, for the most part, are trying to be stealthy about it.

And the Beltway hysteria about the loss of US power and the resulting perceived need to escalate (as if that won’t make matters worse, save for arms makers) is the perfect justification for slashing social services, assuming you don’t care much about actual living people.

By James Roosevelt Jr., the grandson of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and first lady Eleanor Roosevelt and also a former associate commissioner at the Social Security Administration; Henry Scott Wallace, an attorney and foundation executive; June Hopkins, a professor of History Emerita, Georgia Southern University, Armstrong Campus; and Tomlin Perkins Coggeshall, the grandson of Labor Secretary Frances Perkins. Originally published at Common Dream

Let’s talk Social Security. The government shutdown was averted (temporarily), so that’s a good thing, right? Trump is promising not to touch it. Benefits are not threatened, right?

Wrong. Social Security has a bullseye on its back. As descendants of the New Deal leaders who created it, we recognize the warning signs, and need to shout the alarm.

The right-wing hard-liners who fired House Speaker Kevin McCarthy—with no replacement anywhere in sight—are determined to balance the budget by reducing spending. The word “revenues” is an obscenity to them. And defense spending is sacred and untouchable.

But even if they completely eliminated every single non-defense discretionary program—from food stamps to the FBI to border protection—it wouldn’t be enough. It would add up to about $900 billion, or about 15% of total federal spending, which would fall far short of balancing the budget. So their deficit-cutting zeal must inevitably turn to what is called mandatory spending, most prominently the largest government program of all, Social Security.

Republican presidential candidates are increasingly emboldened to touch this deadly “third rail” of American politics. Nikki Haley mocked other candidates for promising not to touch Social Security. Ron DeSantis wants to “revamp” it. Mike Pence wants to privatize it, turning it over to Wall Street and adding trillions to the national debt—to replace the New Deal with a “better deal.”

And although former President Donald Trump now swears he would never harm a hair on Social Security’s head, his history renders such assurances hollow. He has previously suggested that a second Trump term would mean cuts to Social Security and Medicare. Let’s not forget that his hugest unachieved social policy goal at the end of his presidency was the complete termination of Social Security’s principal funding source, the payroll tax.

Former Speaker McCarthy proposes a national commission to examine ways to cut Social Security. The 175 members of the House Republican Study Committee have released their proposed budget for fiscal 2024, which would cut benefits by one-third, essentially transforming Social Security from an earned insurance benefit into a subsistence-level welfare benefit.

Previous threats have included plans to sunset all mandatory spending every five years (brainchild of Senate GOP campaign chair Rick Scott), or even every single year (proposed by Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson).

It’s true that Social Security will start having solvency problems by 2034 (according to the Social Security Administration), with retirees taking out more than current workers are putting in. To this, there are obviously only two solutions—cutting payout or increasing revenues. The Republicans in their budget acknowledge this, but they absolutely reject any whiff of the latter (here at 87-88).

For a sustainable Social Security—the most popular government program in America—taking revenues off the table is two things: 1) insanity, and 2) unshakeable Republican orthodoxy.

As Oliver Wendell Holmes counselled, revenues—i.e., taxes—“are the price we pay for civilized society.” And to fund our civilization, it’s obvious that those with the most money should pay their fair share. Americans are shocked that billionaires like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk can get away with paying zero in federal income taxes.

Let’s not forget that during FDR’s New Deal, which rescued the nation from the Great Depression and grew the great American middle class as never before, the tax rate on the richest Americans was 90%, up from 25% under previous Republican administrations, which produced nothing but a do-nothing government, the Gilded Age, and the Depression.

So let’s make the rich pay more of their fair share for Social Security. Let’s start with eliminating the cap on earnings that are subject to the payroll tax. Currently, earnings over $160,200 are totally exempt from payroll taxes. That means that the CEO making $10 million stops paying the 6.2% payroll tax after the first week of the year, while his janitor pays 6.2% for the entire year. That’s an outrageous affront to ordinary working people throughout America.

Democrats in Congress are brimming with proposals to guarantee Social Security’s solvency for generations, without cutting benefits one iota. Nearly 200 House Democrats recently introduced a bill called Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust, which would extend solvency for more than 40 years, expand benefits for most recipients, and even cut taxes for 23 million beneficiaries. It would fund this by imposing the 6.2% payroll tax on earned income above $400,000 (honoring Biden’s promise not to raise taxes on anyone with income under that level), and similarly taxing investment income above that level.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) recently held a hearing on a similar bill sponsored by him and Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.), called Protecting Social Security for All: Making the Wealthy Pay Their Fair Share, ensuring Social Security’s solvency for 75 years.

Most expansively, there’s a bill by Sens. Warren and Sanders and dozens of other Senate and House members, the Social Security Expansion Act. It would not only extend solvency for more than a century, by setting the threshold for payroll and investment tax at $250,000 of annual income (the wealthiest 7% in America), but would increase benefits for Social Security recipients by an average of $2,400 a year and help reduce the federal deficit by sending some of its investment-tax revenue to the general treasury.

Yet all these simple and sustainable fixes are supported only by Democrats. It makes one wonder: what fundamentally drives Republicans’ single-minded obsession with cutting Social Security? Is it hatred of the program itself—the largestcomponent of federal expenditures, created by the greatest Democratic President ever, amid Republican cries of “socialism”?

Or is it hatred of the notion of raising taxes on anybody, even the most obscenely rich? After all, Republican Presidents from Reagan to Trump have delighted in cutting taxes for the rich, on the thoroughly debunked theory that the money would somehow “trickle down” to ordinary Americans. Trump and congressional Republicans have promised more of the same if they regain power. In fact, they blatantly label all taxes as pure theft (here, at p.20). They literally laugh at the notion of taxing the wealthiest Americans, even though voters of all political stripes overwhelmingly support it.

Suffice to say that the two obsessions are conjoined. More tax giveaways to the rich simply mean less revenue, higher deficits, and more justification for taking a meat cleaver to programs that serve and protect ordinary Americans.

Former Speaker McCarthy’s “commission” idea is just another prescription for slashing Social Security benefits, according to Sen. Ron Wyden, Chair of the Senate Committee responsible for Social Security. McCarthy himself acknowledged that all the “cutting,” including Social Security, would “make some people uncomfortable.” Indeed, polls show overwhelming opposition to his commission, and only 2% of Republicans support cutting Social Security.

As Republican President Dwight Eisenhower warned, there may be “a tiny splinter group” of politicians who want to mess with Social Security, but “their number is negligible and they are stupid.”

Taxing the 1% to indefinitely assure modest financial security for the 99% is blindingly logical and fair, and overwhelmingly popular. Yet not a single congressional Republican—even ones in districts that Biden won—is willing to support it.

FDR was called a “traitor to his class” when he forced the “economic royalists” and the “over-privileged” to pay their fair share for programs to help ordinary people struggling to get by. He responded that he “welcomed their hatred,” because he knew he was on the right side. Indeed, Social Security passed in 1935 with overwhelming bipartisan support, 372-33 in the House. We could use a bit of that courage and bipartisanship today.

Fortunately, America’s most beloved and beleaguered government program is finally going to get a true champion—an actual Senate-confirmed leader. In the two years since President Biden fired the misbegotten Trump-holdover leadership, the agency has suffered a drastic decline in staffing, funding, and morale. Facing daunting challenges both from within and without, Biden’s newly announced nominee, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, will need every ounce of his legendary administrative acumen, as well as a backbone of steel.

O’Malley should come out with guns blazing—demanding a solid long-term legislative fix, and driving a stake through Republicans’ insistence that President Biden is responsible for the looming solvency crisis.

The $33 trillion national debt is a product of spending by both parties over many decades. The far right’s sudden burn-it-all-down obsession with deficit spending, after four years of happily running up record deficits under a Republican President, is a reckless and hypocritical abdication of the duty to govern and serve the ordinary people of this country. It signals tough times ahead for Americans’ favorite government program. Our ancestors who created Social Security 88 years ago would work their butts off to protect and strengthen it.

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  1. ambrit

    Since this subject is, at bottom, all about money, let us mention the Leviathan in the room, money in politics.
    Remove much of the overt influence the monied classes wield in politics and you reduce many of the stresses on the poorer classes. That influence comes via ‘campaign contributions,’ ‘think tank “junkets”‘ etc. etc.; all of which are funded by the wealthy. The American Government has become a “corporation” all of it’s own, and follows what passes for ‘corporate governance’ in it’s functioning. “Shareholder equity” has run countless businesses into receivership, and is set to do the same to Government in general.
    We live, and suffer, in interesting times.

    1. Reply

      So much friction built into the current system representing a dead-weight welfare loss to people. Individual constituencies benefit without batting an eye. As long as their projects or policies get funded, and they collect their share, they do not care what happens to anyone else. What a world.

      A professor decades ago told the class that America was becoming a nation of self-sufficient rapists, comfortable living in increasingly isolated worlds without regard to neighbors or anyone else. That was well before modern conveniences that accelerate such tendencies. Now it takes more work just to keep up with what fresh hells will be inflicted upon us.

    2. Oh

      If we can pass a law that taxes all contributions, political and otherwise at the donor level and have the taxes go directly to the Social Security Fund, it might begin to solve the problem.

  2. The Rev Kev

    Not being satisfied with a potential three-front war against Russia, China and Iran, the Washington political players now want to go after social security back at home and start a fourth war there. This may be a really bad idea. Even five years ago there were about 52 million Americans who received old age pensions and their numbers were only increasing. By chopping their pensions does Washington really want to face the wrath of over fifty million people? And at their age, the threat of a life sentence means nothing to them.

      1. flora

        It won’t be gone. Seniors votes in large numbers for their age groups. SS five years from now might not buy as much but it won’t be gone. No Congress man/woman wants the halls outside their offices filled with irate seniors.

      2. Wukchumni

        Got a meeting with SS in a month in order to get at my gotten gains, now approaching my golden years-officially middle aged, that is if I make to 124… but it corresponds nicely with a potential government shutdown between and betwixt the numbnuts & nutcases in Humordor.

        I’d imagine even with cost of living increases, the buying power of my annuity has lost 50% in the past 5 years, for what its worth.

      3. Paul Art

        Don’t keep saying that. It makes battle easy for the enemy. By spreading the canard that SS will go broke everywhere all the time they have already got the young to believe that SS won’t be around for long.

    1. flora

      SS isn’t even the real problem; Medicare and Medicaid are the big financial problem that no one wants to talk about. I can imagine Wall St. sharpening their knives for the fat pigeon that is SS and leaving Medicare to the govt to continue managing.

      1. Paul Art

        I believe Wall Street and the deficit pretend hawks don’t carp too much about Medicare because they are scared of the Physician and Insurance lobbies. If they abolished Medicare then Physicians will lose a lot of money and so will the ‘Supplementary Medicare’ industry

      2. Kuhio

        The government has steadily given over management of Medicaid to for profit, private corporate management, thereby reducing services, especially to the most needy. Medicare, likewise is being privatized with the government’s joyous approval (more profits for the health insurers and their political policy maker buddies) by steadily increasing Medicare Advantage Plans. This government approved pogram reduces allowed services for the people while enriching the neoliberal financial class. Have you ever walked in to a doctor’s office only to be told that they no longer accept “Classic” Medicare? A vulture has two wings: a left and a right. Moves to eliminate entitlement programs are being circling in both political parties. The fault lies not in the market but, since Reaganomics especially, in the collapse in regulatory agency.

  3. LAS

    I remember George Bush wanting to privatize Social Security, not Bill Clinton. Did Bill Clinton really want to privatize? Anyone have that story?

      1. Reply

        One small victory was keeping Wall Street away from even more of American lives. Their penchant for fee collection regardless of any customer satisfaction, let alone prospering, ought to be reason enough to never trust them ever, under any circumstances, period. Not to put too fine a point on it.

      2. Pensions Guy

        It has been known for years that the Greenspan Commission made one critical mistake–not allowing the IRS to calculate the ceiling cap each year, instead relying on the DOL wage index. The idea at the time was that 90% of national income would be subject to social security taxes, but wage earnings took off for the top 1% just about that time and escaped the DOL wage index. Had the ceiling cap been raised every year to capture that 90% of national income, social security would be funded as far as the eye can see. https://aneconomicsense.org/2016/03/22/the-impact-of-increased-inequality-on-the-social-security-trust-fund-and-what-to-do-now/ It’s also true that Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich were secretly working on a deal to “save Social Security” until Newt learned about Monica Lewinsky and decided that impeachment was more important. It’s also true that George W. Bush wanted to privatize Social Security, and that failed. It’s also true that Barack Obama tried and failed to negotiate a Grand Bargain. Every one of those three plans failed to address the 90% problem. Congressman John Larson’s plan to fund Social Security comes closest to recognizing this critical funding problem, IMHO. https://www.cbpp.org/research/social-security/social-security-2100-an-overview

  4. Cassandra

    What a pile of smelly Team Blue partisan spew.

    Lest anyone forget, Biden has been trying to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid for decades:

    BIDEN’S FIXATION on cutting Social Security dates back to the Reagan era. One of Ronald Reagan’s first major moves as president was to implement a mammoth tax cut, tilted toward the wealthy, and to increase defense spending. Biden, a Delaware senator at the time, supported both moves. The heightened spending and reduced revenue focused public attention on the debt and deficit, giving fuel to a push for a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.
    In the midst of that debate, Biden teamed up with Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley to call for a freeze on federal spending, and insisted on including Social Security in that freeze, even as the Reagan administration fought to protect the program from cuts. It was part of the Democratic approach at the time not just to match Republicans, but to get to their right at times as well, as Biden also did on criminal justice policy.


    Biden’s boss campaigned on expanding benefits, to be financed by reforming FICA withholding to be less regressive, along with other campaign promises to offer a public option for healthcare, to close Guantanamo, to pass legislation to protect reproductive rights, etc, etc. All of those promises were promptly sacrificed on the altar of elusive bipartisanship.

    Biden is an even less convincing “progressive”. Looking at the lineup of honored speakers at the last DNC convention, it is clear that the Democratic approach is still “not just to match Republicans, but to get to their right at times.”

    PS. He still owes us $600. Each.

    1. Reply

      Biden has so many faults it is difficult to keep up.

      One that will surely haunt us, as in cause death to Americans, is his open border policy. His own CBP admitted recently to identifying over 200 known terrorist watch list people, and those are just the ones they happened to catch. The terrorist got-away or evaded component is a rounding error in the millions that have surged in on his watch, but will come to neighborhoods, schools, shopping centers, bases, hospitals and elsewhere soon.
      Those widespread news articles about the huge numbers of military-aged males are not about displaced families, so fewer manipulated children photos and, what a surprise, more gun sales. There aren’t many H1-B software engineers, high skill manufacturing guys or even wannabe gardeners in mix, and the idiot insists on paying to relocate them all over the country and provide healthcare with your and my tax dollars while communities have homeless and so many without healthcare or enough food. Insanity. /End rant

      Thanks, Joe. Do the world a favor and resign already.

      1. Nikkikat

        No there aren’t many “H1-B software engineers”coming across the border. The software engineers are brought in by the thousands by tech companies. Bill gates lobbies congress every year for those engineers. The predominant people flooding the border are from countries where we sanction or overthrow the government. Currently,
        Venezuela, prior years it was Honduras, El Salvador or Nicaragua. No healthcare is provided to persons entering the country illegally. For the most part no benefits from your tax dollars go there. However, under refugee programs usually run after a war some where like Somalia the country brings in these refugees from a group that “helped the military” and they receive refugee cash payments, food stamps and Medicaid under the refugee program.
        Sometimes these people are sponsored by churches initially and then referred to government programs.

          1. JonnyJames

            It’s great subsidy for BigAg in CA that mostly employ these “illegal” migrants. I’m sure Gav Newsom really cares about the illegal immigrant slave labor. But he’s tall, handsome, has the good hair, and bleachy-white teeth. He has a great line of BS as well – great presidential material eh

            BTW, “illegals” red-herring or no, “health care” in the USA, is little more than insurance extortion. Know your enemy

          2. Reply

            Here is a link to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation article about immigrant healthcare.

            On my larger point about the border. There is a humanitarian crisis from the Darien Gap northward. People making that awful trek pay in various ways. Others prey upon them, and still others aid and abet even if well-meaning.

            Resource costs like air, sea and land transportation, coyotes, protection and the following:

            Of the 5,000,000+ arrivals, here for illustrative purposes only, is a potential breakdown.
            Say 20% are humanitarian, fleeing repressive regimes, health, safety, troubles, often caused by US, so 1MM
            Say another 10% are political, directed here by anti-US regimes, so 500K
            and 70% remainder are economic, looking for work, better life, not fleeing so much as opportuning, so 3.5MM.

            That 10%, or even 5% (250K) or even 1% (50K) represent enough of an advance guard to worry about. Look at European experiences with unassimilable individuals and groups as we can expect some of that.

            The public discourse about immigrants tends to lump them together, as if all 5MM+ are humanitarian, or maybe mostly, with the remainder doing the jobs that Americans just won’t do. That clickbait or Breaking News Alert ignores the details and typically hurts the very people they are allegedly trying to help, and then moves onto the next issue for the duration of the news cycle.

            In the meantime, communities suffer like the well-publicized ER closures across the Sunbelt, the overwhelmed public and private resources when the trickle of arrivals becomes a wave, or other issues observable in your regions.

            There is a way to address migration properly, so why do we keep trying all the wrong approaches? That is an echo of Churchill’s phrase about America doing the right thing after they’d tried all the others. Why not consider the people already here who are unemployed, or underemployed, or lacking healthcare, adequate food, decent schools and such? Don’t they count?

    2. GramSci

      How sad that these descendants of FDR’s New Deal team, now two generations removed, can offer common USian citizens nothing but such weak tea.

      In 1932 Herbert familyblogging Hoover raised the top marginal rate from 25% to 63%. Instead, we are offered the Protecting Social Security for All Rube Goldberg Memorial Act that likely creates more loopholes than it closes, or the weak tea of HR 4583, which will never get out of committee.

      Ironic and sad that these four won’t come out and acknowledge how it was the Notsie Democratic Party itself that slipped the shiv to Henry Wallace, FDR, and the whole New Deal in the 1944 Democratic National Convention. Hell, they won’t even speak out against genocide under the looming cloud of WWIII.

      One fears they’ve become Notsies themselves.

    3. Kurtismayfield

      And he is the “Leftist” that the conservative talk radio heads froth about. The ratchet has been advanced so far right I am not even sure the pawl can hold it anymore.

  5. Altandmain

    The main problem is that the rich are not willing to allow the working and middle class to have a decent standard of living.

    That’s what’s driving this whole battle over the future of Social Security. As the author notes, the current corrupt Establishment is unwilling to raise taxes on the rich. Maybe FDR was willing to, but the Establishment will do everything possible to sabotage any candidates who want to repeat that.

    There’s a big caveat though. The ruling class is losing its political legitimacy. Legitimacy comes from good economic performance. As living standards for all except the rich and upper middle class fall, it’s going to increase the backlash against the ruling class.

    I suspect that this will result in more and more oppressive measures as they get increasingly desperate to hold onto power. We will see more people cancelled, more censorship under the guise of ending misinformation, and an outright police state.

    Globally, the US is rapidly losing hegemony and with it, moral authority. The idea of “be like us” will be indefensible as living standards fall for all but the rich and nations like China improve their infrastructure, while American infrastructure declines.

    1. JBird4049

      >>>As living standards for all except the rich and upper middle class fall, it’s going to increase the backlash against the ruling class.

      I think that the upper middle class itself is under threat with an increasing number fighting like drowning rats for the shrinking amount of still floating wreckage. The not so metaphorical deaths of the losers explains some of the groupthink and backstabbing especially with the use of Identity Politics, which includes Wokeism. Even if you survive for now, the future is not guaranteed and there is always your family’s future as well.

  6. taunger

    A bit of a tangent, but not much, and this seems like a good discussion to mention it. I work as an attorney representing claimants seeking SSDI and SSI. Recently, SSA proposed a new rule change that on its face would make winning benefits easier. The current regulations require administrative law judges to consider whether a claimant can perform any of the work they have performed in the past 15 years, either as generally performed in the national economy (determined through use of the Dictionary of Occupational Titles, an obsolete tome last updated in 1992), or as actually performed by the claimant. The rule change would shorten that time span to 5 years, ostensibly to create processing efficiencies (which are well needed given SSA is operating in the general “everything is CalPERS” manner). There are certainly ways for adept judges to continue to deny at historical rates, but the rule change proposal does present the opportunity for massive increase in award rates, which is remarkable in the context of a mass disabling event like COVID-19.

  7. JonnyJames

    >…”So please don’t swallow the canard that Democrats are the big saviors of Social Security while meanie Republicans want to take it away. They both have it in their crosshairs, but the Democrats, for the most part, are trying to be stealthy about it.”

    No argument from me, The Bipartisan Consensus has been clear for a long time. They play the “good cop, bad cop” game on us. (In a “first past the post”/ “winner takes all” electoral system, two parties will dominate, that’s one big reason third parties don’t get traction).

    As we recall, Ol’ Bubba also signed off on bipartisan leg. that infamously de-regulated Wall St., plus “Welfare Reform”, NAFTA, The Crime Bill, Telecommunication Act 1996, etc. Despite the rhetoric, Clinton was more right-wing than his R predecessor. As the late Glen Ford said, the Ds are not the lesser evil, they are the “more effective evil”. Much the same can be said for Barack Obama.

    Similarly, in the UK, the major parties have been slowly privatizing the NHS for years, despite public opinion being against it.

    For a bit of tragic humor, the late George Carlin predicted the theft of SS/Medicare many years ago in one of his HBO specials, it’s on YT somewhere. Was a comedian one of the best political analysts in recent US history? (only half joking).

    Meanwhile the klepto-kakistocracy want to send over a 100 billion to our friends in Ukraine, Israel etc.
    We have the best institutionalized corruption money can buy. USA #1

  8. jackiebass

    Privatization is already happening. It is happening through Advantage policies. Insurance companies sell it by offering perks that traditional Medicare doesn’t offer. I suspect most people with Advantage plans don’t use some of the perks. A big disadvantage of the Advantage plans is you are locked into networks of doctors and hospitals. Traditional Medicare lets you use any doctor as long as they participate in medicare. Let the buyer beware. I personally favor traditional medicare with a supplemental policy.

  9. danf51

    Wolf Street had an excellent look at Social Security using actual numbers:


    The major problem SS has faced has been interest rate suppression by the fed. If Interest rates had been closer to normal for the last 10-15 years, SS would not have beed in deficit (outgoing vs income) in 2021/22. The good news is that average duration in the trust fund is down to 5.5 years, so assuming rates do remain higher, interest income will, relatively quickly, return to normal levels.

    Whatever funding problems remain with SS can still be fixed with relatively little pain and no reduction in benefits. However, EVERYONE needs to be reminded that SS is and was never meant to be your only source of support in retirement.

  10. Michael Hogan

    The 90% tax rate maybe miss leading. My understanding is that it was a marginal tax on income over $100,000. ($5 million today?) It wasn’t as draconian as it seemed.

    1. Vicky Cookies

      Its not really misleading; thats probably a good average for the 40 year period from the 30’s to the 70’s. When income tax was re-established in 1913, the top rate was marginal. Then, the government needed to fund wars, and stave off revolution, so the top rate hovered around 91%, peaking at 93% (with the top bracket shooting down from, iirc, $1m to $100,000), until basically the inauguration of the neoliberal period, when it bagan to decline. Reagan slashed it to 50%, and it has continued to drop.

  11. SG

    To this, there are obviously only two solutions—cutting payout or increasing revenues.

    Or there’s the third alternative: Just fund it and stop worrying about this mythical “solvency”.
    Although raising revenues by lifting the payroll tax cap is fine by me (even though I’d be adversely affected).

    1. gcw919

      Or yet another solution, cutting out-of-control military spending. The question always looms, who is going to attack us? Its all fear-mongering to keep the military-industrial complex flush, while claiming there’s no money for healthcare for the uninsured, or housing for people sleeping in tents on sidewalks.

  12. chris

    I’m confused, how is this even a problem? I thought SS was directly funded by payroll taxes, so the worst that can happen is the benefits paid out will be less than promised if more retirees draw from the program than can be supported at the promised level. Perhaps I missed the context of the article but are Republicans talking about saving SS by cutting benefits and then taking the difference to fund the short fall in other areas of the budget? In a word, theft? If so, that is horrible and wrong. But didn’t all the COVID deaths of the elderly elderly save us money and extend the program’s projected date of insolvency? I agree billionaires who play taxes games and don’t have anything to draw a payroll tax on should pay something but are there that many billionaires that the money would make a difference to SS?

    And can we discuss the problems with payroll taxes in general when all the things people need have been inflated in cost so much? And why do we dismiss any chance of cutting the Pentagon budget? As recently as 2020 56% of citizens polled agreed that the military budget should be reduced.

    I pay more in gas taxes, property taxes, local income taxes, states income taxes, and federal income taxes now. Fees for permits and other services have gone up. Everything costs more and I get less and less. I’m more in favor reducing costs and shrinking the overall need for the federal government. I’m very in favor of shrinking the Pentagon budget. I don’t want us to get in more foreign entanglements. Why is that never an option we’re allowed to consider?

  13. James T

    SS not being your only source of retirement income is an easy thing for those of us who have the ability to save. What about the vast majority of Americans who are just trying to survive with relatively low wages and ever increasing inflation. No reason our country cannot provide a base level income to our elderly. Well at least in my opinion.

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