Social Security

  • 02.06.18

    The Next Big Fight

    Fresh off passing massive tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, Trump and congressional Republicans want to use the deficit they've created to justify huge cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. As House Speaker Paul Ryan says "We're going to have to get… at entitlement reform, which is how y...

    Fresh off passing massive tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, Trump and congressional Republicans want to use the deficit they’ve created to justify huge cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

    As House Speaker Paul Ryan says “We’re going to have to get… at entitlement reform, which is how you tackle the debt and the deficit.” 

  • 11.15.17

    The GOP Wants To Eliminate The Estate Tax. Let’s Use It To Expand Social Security Instead

    This article takes a new approach to Social Security and the Estate Tax. Nancy Altman argues that "Our nation is founded on the idea that we are created equal. The reality is that children of billionaires have many opportunities denied to the rest of us. Instead of making those children even richer and more privil...

    This article takes a new approach to Social Security and the Estate Tax.

    Nancy Altman argues that "Our nation is founded on the idea that we are created equal. The reality is that children of billionaires have many opportunities denied to the rest of us. Instead of making those children even richer and more privileged, here’s a better idea: If Republicans don’t want the revenue from that top 0.2 percent of wealthiest Americans to run the government, let’s dedicate it to Social Security and use it to expand those modest but vital benefits for everyone."

    This argument acknowledges the growing inequality in the United States and uses it to level the playing field through the allocation of the Estate Tax to Social Security. 

  • 07.20.17

    Long-term Projections of Social Security’s and Medicare’s Financing are Not as Scary as They Seem

    This article from the Center for Economic and Policy Research looks at the current financing of Social Security and Medicare and projects the changes that would need to occur for the programs to be financed in the long term. It finds that "workers should be much more concerned with making sure they receive their s...

    This article from the Center for Economic and Policy Research looks at the current financing of Social Security and Medicare and projects the changes that would need to occur for the programs to be financed in the long term.

    It finds that "workers should be much more concerned with making sure they receive their share of productivity gains in wage increases over this period than they should be about tax increases.  This is not about Social Security needing to be less generous, it is about making sure that workers receive their fair share."

    This conclusion largely stems from the fact that "With the upward redistribution of income that has occurred over the last four decades, Social Security has less of a base on which to draw. 90 percent of wage income was subject to the tax in 1983 — it was 82.6 percent in 2015. This decline represents a large share of the program’s shortfall."

    CEPR Social Security Funding Plot 2

  • 02.01.17

    Who Pays If We Raise The Social Security Payroll Tax Cap?

    There has been a significant amount of discussion about Social Security. Many are concerned that the current model for Social Security is not sustainable and it will eventually not be able to pay benefits out to retirees. The Social Security payroll tax currently in place is capped at the same level for everyone, ...

    There has been a significant amount of discussion about Social Security. Many are concerned that the current model for Social Security is not sustainable and it will eventually not be able to pay benefits out to retirees.

    The Social Security payroll tax currently in place is capped at the same level for everyone, regardless of how much they make. In 2017 the maximum wage earnings that are taxed by the payroll tax is $127,200. This means that if you make any amount over $127,200, that extra money is not taxed. Ultimately this leads to a "regressive" tax structure where those making up to $127,200 are paying a higher percentage of their income than those who make more that that amount.

    This article looks at the effect that raising or eliminating the cap would have on income earners across the country. Based on its data " the vast majority of workers would not be impacted." This is because "roughly 1 in 18 people, or 5.4 percent of workers, earn more than the current cap and would be affected if it were eliminated."

    Percent of workers have incomes above the payroll tax cap

     

  • 01.01.17

    Social Security: Frequently Asked Questions

    This article from the Social Security Administration answers some key questions that many have about Social Security. The questions range from historical questions: Q: When did Social Security Start? Q: Is it true that life expectancy was less than 65 back in 1935, so the Social Security program was designed in...

    This article from the Social Security Administration answers some key questions that many have about Social Security. 

    The questions range from historical questions:

    Q: When did Social Security Start?

    Q: Is it true that life expectancy was less than 65 back in 1935, so the Social Security program was designed in such a way that people would not live long enough to collect benefits?

    Through questions about its revenues and future viability:

    Q: Has Social Security ever been financed by general tax revenues?

    Q: How much has Social Security paid out since it started?

    Q:Has Social Security always taken in more money each year than it needed to pay benefits?

    To logistical questions:

    Q: Is there any significance to the numbers assigned in the Social Security Number?

    Q:Are Social Security numbers reused after a person dies?

  • 04.30.13

    Effects Of Unauthorized Immigration On The Actuarial Status Of The Social Security Trust Funds

    This report from the Social Security Administration looks at the affect that undocumented immigrants have had on the Social Security funds. It begins with a short overview of the different types of immigrants who may be contributing to the fun. Then it delves into a discussion of how and how much those immigrants...

    This report from the Social Security Administration looks at the affect that undocumented immigrants have had on the Social Security funds. 

    It begins with a short overview of the different types of immigrants who may be contributing to the fun. Then it delves into a discussion of how and how much those immigrants contribute and take from Social Security. It finds that "While unauthorized immigrants worked and contributed as much as $13 billion in payroll taxes to the OASDI program in 2010, only about $1 billion in benefit payments during 2010 are attributable to unauthorized work." Therefore, the authors estimate that "earnings by unauthorized immigrants result in a net positive effect on Social Security financial status generally, and that this effect contributed roughly $12 billion to the cash flow of the program for 2010."

    The report ends with an overview of the laws that affect undocumented immigrants in regards to Social Security and frequently asked questions about the issue.

  • 02.17.12

    Entitlements Hysteria

    In this article Jeff Sachs injects some reality into much of the hysteria around entitlement spending. Many have heard the argument that healthcare costs are rising and that the government will go broke paying for programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Sachs, however, breaks down the number of the ...

    In this article Jeff Sachs injects some reality into much of the hysteria around entitlement spending. Many have heard the argument that healthcare costs are rising and that the government will go broke paying for programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

    Sachs, however, breaks down the number of the price increase. In 2012 the President's budget saw an increase in Medicare and Medicaid spending from 5.1% to 5.5%. This was not a substantial increase. Sachs warns that many of the long-term predictions should be taken with a grain of salt, "Mechanical extrapolations that assume that health care costs will rise much faster than GNP between 2011 and 2085 are utterly unconvincing. Why should healthcare costs continue to rise so far and fast when healthcare costs are already vastly over-priced now compared with what other countries pay for the same services? Why should we assume failure decade after decade to use the new information technologies to lower the costs of health-care delivery and administration?"

    This article is a reality-check about entitlement spending. Yes, it has grown and will continue to grow, but for programs that help so many people, the last thing that we need is to demolish the entire system.