Sunday, January 05, 2014

Today, 900 Rich People No Longer Have to Pay Into Social Security

Crossposted on Dkos
You and I, who are struggling to make ends meet, will be paying into social security in perpetuity. Not so for the top .00001% of which our economy is rigged. These 900 of the richest of the rich don't have to pay Social Security taxes for the rest of the year. That's because of an incredibly stupid law that says you cannot tax after $117,000--and since this top elite has already made that much by now, they, unlike the rest of us, get the rest of the year free from Social Security taxes because.... something.

The taxable maximum makes the Social Security payroll tax regressive, meaning that low earners pay a MUCH HIGHER share of their earnings in taxes than high earners. But that's fair because..... something. Boosting the taxable maximum would completely fix the system’s financing. Eliminating the cap entirely would make Social Security solvent for the next 75 years without cutting any benefits, without raising the age, and without effecting the earnings one iota of 95% of all Americans, and would hardly affect the top .00001% at all.

This story showcases a Korean War Veteran delivering pizzas to make ends meet. We are already in a serious retirement crisis: Social Security was supposed to be part of a three-legged stool for elderly Americans. Pension, supplemented by 401ks, supplemented by Social Security was supposed to be our safety net. Pensions have all but disappeared. 401ks are woefully inadequate (I had to tap into mine for health care issues... but that is another issue altogether). Social Security was never meant to the primary lifeline for seniors, yet that is what it has become. Living entirely off of Social Security will keep you below the poverty line, and yet the republicans, led by Koch-funded groups, are pushing the solution to CUT Social Security benefits rather than expand it.

David Koch is spending hundreds of millions of dollars in the fight to cut SS benefits. Keep in mind that he makes $3 million an hour. Granted, this is investment income, which means it isn't taxed at all. If it were earned income, he would have met his cap at 2 minutes and 21 seconds after midnight. The bottle of champagne he drank from to ring in the new year was worth almost half of the maximum allowable.

(Yet that asshat still refuses to tip the help).

He is supported by overpaid CEOs who make up 70% of those 900 people. Their earned income is so high they have already hit the table cap on January 3rd, and they have accumulated MASSIVE retirement fortunes. Yet they support cutting Social Security even though, without any awareness of the irony, they helped contribute to this crisis by successfully shifting the burden of retirement savings to their employees.

The arguments against even raising the cap is flimsy; and again, mostly coming from think tanks funded by the Kochs or University Economic Departments they have bought (I'm looking at you Florida State and Florida Gulf Coast).

The main argument is that raising the cap would somehow "discourage work" and thus cutting benefits is the more proper solution. Yes, because the wealthiest CEOs obviously must work thousands of times harder than their employees to earn thousands of times their salary.

Elizabeth Warren is one of the few fighting to expand, not cut, Social Security. It is more than soluble if the wealthiest among us will at least contribute the same percentage as the rest of us.

Remember this the next time you are told we have to cut "entitlement" programs.

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