Thursday, June 16, 2005

Fix Social Security By Decreasing Payroll Taxes

I've read several proposals for fixing social security. Most people understand that "fixing" means keeping social security solvent. Private accounts do nothing to keep social security solvent. They actually make the problem worse.

I suggest that we first require that the money the federal government "borrows" from the social security fund be treated like the rest of the national debt. It must be treated just as if it were borrowed from an individual or a foreign government. It would be subject to the debt ceiling so Congress would have to vote to increase the national debt to use it. This would make our current fiscal shenanigans more obviously unacceptable.

If we quit using the social security surpluses to fund current government operations, we could invest all that extra money in the stock market. We would have one big private account.

Better yet, why not face up to the reality that politicians have no self-control. Don't let there be a surplus in social security for them to spend. I suggest we increase the amount of wages subject to social security to $200,000. Then we decrease the social security tax rate to just bring in a little more than what we need to pay current benefits. Each year the Social Security Administration would recalculate the rate for the next year. While more affluent workers might pay more, lower paid workers would pay significantly less. With this additional money in the economy we might grow our way out of the problem.

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