How do we collect SS from the Wealthy, most do not have payroll checks?. It is investment income charged at a lower rate than payrol taxes for the rest of us? Of course the cap does have to be raised.
A goldfish syndrome: Goldfish in a bowl swims through the little ceramic castle and each time amazed saying: “gee, I live in a castle” “gee, I live in a castle” “gee, I live in a castle”
It never changes its own water in that little bowl.
There is an entire stratum of the economic system that tries incessantly to claim that IT IS THE SOCIETY. I call it the goldfish syndrome. Seemingly benign, until the poop builds up.
The resistance to Social Security from the GOP in those days was even fiercer than today’s GOP and its resistance to raising the minimum wage. All the arguments were-if the working poor need this government program to support them in their old age, then let them pay for it. We’ll pay for some of it. All the time knowing their wealth and income did not come from wages, with a W-2 or 1099, but from things like trust funds and capital gains. Then, the real shiv in the back…if a person were self-employed they had to pay the full 15% FICA tax from their gross income, not net income.
I can’t think of any billionaire or millionaire who’s issued a W-2 or 1099 because they don’t have real jobs. It’s all bonuses or director’s fees that are reported on a schedule, not a 1040. But…since a rich person can no more pass up free money, it’s easy to fabricate a “job” that issues a pay stub and pays FICA. Then they file for benefits just like a working person.
FDR was desperate to have some safety net for the elderly and for widows and children. So he caved on a lot of things. When it came time to discuss disability benefits back in the 1950’s, when unions and labor were strong voting blocs, the Dems brought up the amendments to the Social Security Act. Talk about stampeding elephants! The GOP had every nasty racist, sexist, classist argument it’s always had, the same welfare queen mentality of Raygun in the 80’s. We would create a class of malingerers who were too lazy to work. It would run in families. Of course, the main conservative media outlets of the time(like Reader’s Digest) had true stories of such families. It was passed after a lot of horse trading and a draconian method to apply and hopefully receive the benefit.
So…we 99% are funding our own retirement, survivor, and disability safety net, while other countries look on it as being part of the social contract, not a socialist plot to undermine family values and the work ethic.
And I have skin in the game. Worked for SSA for 30 years, and saw things only emerg personnel normally see.
Great idea! (Too bad there are approximately zero ways to enact it.)
Clinton/Biden played the same game with welfare and left the poor in the dust. Anything to cut social benefits of any kind. We have been talking about lifting the cap on SS contributions for years.
As a poor farmer in the '90s and into 2000’s I never hit the cap, but still had to pay full bore for my income (or loss) on my farm income. Because it was too hard to show any income after expense as a farmer I didn’t get hit very hard on SS contributions or taxes. Like most other family farmers. The corporate mega farmers are another story. These mega farms that get bonus money from the feds should pay full bore for SS contributions. Smaller family farmers never hit the cap now because they can’t compete with the mega farms and make much of a profit anyway.
Lift the damn cap to several million dollars profit NOW!!!
It would just take a stroke of a pen. Not hard. Easy. Politically and otherwise. It’s just a matter of Congress having the will to actually represent the people who elected them, not their corporate paymasters…
The odds of congress doing anything of the sort are also approximately zero, making it not easy. (See how that works?)
Exactly! Thanks for this.
One irony is that the rich make more when those on Social Security go eat at The Olive Garden (yuck) than stay at home picking at a can of cat food. The rich really do not understand that economies depend upon the circulation of money rather than the accumulation of a pile from which to view the rest of the world with contempt.
Well written article. I agree: SCRAP THE CAP! I was one of the people who reached the S.S. cap and probably one of the people who MOST could have afforded to continue to be paying into S.S.
its a little disingenuous to imply that the wealthy aren’t paying their SS dues, it is just that under the current system to top tier SS bracket start (and end) at $142.8k/y. IOW everyone who earns that much or more (in earned income - other forms of income are generally exempt from SS requirements or vetting), pay what is essentially a “flat rate fee.” But of course their earnings from their social security benefits are also capped at the maximum SS payout rate (currently just a bit under $4k/month). Removing the cap on earnings payments, generally requires a means to removing the cap on payment as well. Which I see as acceptable, particularly if we include capital gains earnings and treat them like "earned income, for both considerations as well as with regard to income taxes.
Better yet, remove the cap entirely.
And, since korporations are ‘people’ too, let them pay FICA taxes on their GROSS incomes, just like the
rest of the self-employed . . .