Social Security - can't we do better?
by wayward, Sun Mar 20, 2005 at 09:46:14 AM EST
First of all, it is funded by a highly regressive tax. I pay far more to FICA that I do in Federal or State withholding, and that's before the employer matches it. It is a flat tax on wages which hit low wage workers the hardest, workers who also see the least benefits because they have the least access to healthcare which leads to shorter lifespans.
Second of all, there is the infamous cap where income over $89,000/yr is not taxed. This makes an already regressive tax system even more regressive.
Third, Social Security is not means tested. In fact, because it is supposedly a retirement plan, the wealthy recieve far more that lower income families.
Taken together, points 1, 2, and 3 mean that a minimum wage worker is very likely subsidizing the Cadillac payment of a wealthy retiree. All this for a system that they will probably never benefit from. Is this the BEST progressives can do?
Fourth, modern demographics create problems for Social Security. When Social Security started, population growth was high and people didn't live as long. There was a high ratio of workers to retirees. Now, as birth rates decline and as people live longer, the ratio is considerably lower, which will inevitably mean tax increases or benefits cuts for someone somewhere.
What I've seen in the debate so far is Republicans proposing wrong, foolish, and ineffective ways of fixing Social Security, and Democrats ignoring any problems with the current system. The party of bad ideas vs. the party of no ideas.
Why not come up with a plan that will help Americans save better for retirement, assist seniors (and others who are now helped with SSI) who need it, and come up with a fair way to pay for it all?
If anyone has any good ideas about how to take care of our retirees without breaking young workers, now is the time to bring these ideas forward into the debate.
Tags: (all tags)