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Thu Nov 15, 2012, 10:00 AM

Can the cap on income subject to SS be lifted without a Supreme Court challenge?

That is the only reason I can think of to prevent Obama from suggesting it. And given the make-up of this Supreme Court, he might be right. Perhaps if we get a "better" arrangement on the Court, we can start this conversation?

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Reply Can the cap on income subject to SS be lifted without a Supreme Court challenge? (Original post)
CTyankee Nov 2012 OP
unblock Nov 2012 #1
CTyankee Nov 2012 #3
unblock Nov 2012 #23
JustAnotherGen Nov 2012 #2
PoliticAverse Nov 2012 #4
CTyankee Nov 2012 #7
PoliticAverse Nov 2012 #22
SCantiGOP Nov 2012 #5
The Magistrate Nov 2012 #6
CTyankee Nov 2012 #9
The Magistrate Nov 2012 #12
CTyankee Nov 2012 #15
Egalitarian Thug Nov 2012 #8
CTyankee Nov 2012 #10
Egalitarian Thug Nov 2012 #24
GeorgeGist Nov 2012 #25
Egalitarian Thug Nov 2012 #26
Zo Zig Nov 2012 #11
Champion Jack Nov 2012 #13
k8conant Nov 2012 #16
wishlist Nov 2012 #14
CTyankee Nov 2012 #17
glacierbay Nov 2012 #18
Warren Stupidity Nov 2012 #19
rocktivity Nov 2012 #20
TheKentuckian Nov 2012 #21

Response to CTyankee (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 10:03 AM

1. what would the constitutional argument against it be?

don't answer, i know: "rich people don't like it".
supreme court, 5-4: "yeah, sounds good to me!"

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Response to unblock (Reply #1)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 10:07 AM

3. I really don't know specifically, but they could claim that it treats them unequally under the

SS system (they are taxed more in the program but getting less than others with more modest incomes do).

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Response to CTyankee (Reply #3)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 10:45 AM

23. there is NO guaranteed linkage between payments in and future benefits out.

there is a linkage between current benefits out and PAST payments in, but as it stands, congress could legally change the formula for the future to completely ignore past contributions.

so i don't see how changing the tax basis for present contributions could possibly change anything constitutionally. there's already zero guarantee that your tax contributions will affect your future benefits in any way.


more to the point, the cap changes (nearly) every year, somewhat correlated with inflation. if this isn't a problem, eliminating it altogether shouldn't be a problem either.


finally, the entire point of social security has ALWAYS been to provide a retirement benefit NO MATTER WHAT bad news you run into prior to retirement. rich people can use this as well. it enables them to bet ALL of their riches on investment without worrying about having NOTHING even if they go bankrupt. in fact this benefit helps them to confidently try to gain a TON of extra money, so in a sense it's more valuable to them than to the rest of us. plus, it helps them set up companies that don't provide pensions, which is also more profitable for them.

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Response to CTyankee (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 10:04 AM

2. I don't know

But good question. I thought it could be overcome with legislation. . .

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Response to CTyankee (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 10:07 AM

4. Per the Supreme Court Congress has complete control of the matter. n/t

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Response to PoliticAverse (Reply #4)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 10:09 AM

7. Even if the system changes materially and has an unequal impact on taxpayers?

I'm not arguing against the idea, just trying to figure out why lifting the cap has not been seriously discussed...

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Response to CTyankee (Reply #7)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 10:39 AM

22. It has...

Obama has repeatedly said he favors raising the cap.

See for example recently: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/21/obama-social-security_n_1903773.html

The reason it hasn't been implemented is political. Obama didn't pursue this issue strongly when the Democrats controlled
both the Senate and the House and with the Republicans controlling the House now it would be difficult to implement.




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Response to CTyankee (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 10:07 AM

5. The cap is set by law

so it could be altered by the Congress.

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Response to CTyankee (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 10:08 AM

6. Hard To See What Grounds It Could Be Challenged On, Ma'am

Congress has full authority to alter the terms of both the tax and the pay-outs of the Social Security system; no one has an enforceable right to a particular rate or amount.

The thing could, if people were kittenish, be handled purely as a taxing matter, in any case: the cap could be lifted, and then the tax on benenficiaries income over a certain amount adjusted so that the payout to those who had paid FICA tax on amounts greater than the present cap would be taxed down to the present cap on benefits paid. There could not be a shadow o a Constitutional quibble with this course.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #6)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 10:11 AM

9. That makes sense. So my question to you is "why hasn't this been suggested/tried?"

Why the silence, even from our liberal/progressive lawmakers?

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Response to CTyankee (Reply #9)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 10:17 AM

12. Short Answer, Ma'am? I Do Not Know...

Removing the cap would be the quickest and in my view most equitable 'fix' for the system. Personally, I would like to see a surcharge on the capital gains tax levied, and dedicated to the Social Security fund....

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #12)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 10:22 AM

15. Well, lifting the cap would be a start. I think we need to get the ball rolling on this, though.

What has befuddled me is that only those of us on the sidelines are talking about it. OK, maybe with the exception of Bernie Sanders, but he is a Socialist. Time for us to get this idea more "mainstream." I think the American electorate is in the mood for it right now...

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Response to CTyankee (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 10:09 AM

8. Of course it could, SS has passed Constitutional muster several times. The reasons the President

 

doesn't talk about it are that it would immediately become the issue of the moment and that it is a perfectly reasonable and easily achievable solution to a non-existent problem that both parties have worked a long time to create for their employers.

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #8)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 10:13 AM

10. I understand. But liberals agree that we do need a long term fix at some point.

So you are implying that it will eventually get there? I hope so!

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Response to CTyankee (Reply #10)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 10:53 AM

24. When you say liberals agree, what they are really doing is simply nodding their heads in

 

agreement with what they're being told. If you work with finance or numbers one thing you must realize is that projections beyond a very few years are meaningless, there are just too many variables and indeterminate circumstances for there to be any resemblance to the reality you eventually get. So when someone tells you that SS will be fine until 2025 or will go broke by 2020, they're just making a wild guess based on filling in the numbers on the spreadsheet to achieve the results they want.

So, while there probably will be some potential problem with funding SS at some point in the future, saying that this or that simply must be done now is pushing another agenda. The fact is that SS is just fine right now and, barring some tectonic shift in the economy, will remain so for at least the next five years. Of course, the best possible solution to the potential problem is a combination of eliminating unemployment and rising wages particularly at the bottom.

We have so many other real problems that should be dealt with right now that worrying about this one is either disingenuous or foolish.

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #24)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 11:13 AM

25. It would be foolish ...

to think that 5 years is a long time.

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Response to GeorgeGist (Reply #25)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 01:10 PM

26. I didn't write that 5 years is a long time. I wrote that 5 years is about as long as you

 

can project economic trends with any reasonable degree of accuracy.

Did you read my reply?

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Response to CTyankee (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 10:17 AM

11. What is the current

top end on SS, 94K?

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Response to Zo Zig (Reply #11)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 10:20 AM

13. I believe it's 110,000

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Response to Zo Zig (Reply #11)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 10:23 AM

16. $113,700 in 2013, up from $110,100

Take this cap off!

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Response to CTyankee (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 10:21 AM

14. Congress just needs to change SS payroll tax limit

Social Security taxes are just that, taxes that can be levied by Congress and raising taxes is Constitutional. The only reason health care mandate came before Supreme Court was that the penalty was not specifically called a tax under the Affordable Care Act. Justice Roberts wisely decided that the penalty was in fact actually a tax and therefore Constitutional.

But Federal taxes cannot be changed by Presidential executive order, requires Congress.

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Response to wishlist (Reply #14)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 10:24 AM

17. Yes, I had Justice Roberts "doctrine" on the ACA in the back of my mind when posting this.

That would seem to strengthen the hand of those of us who want to see this change made...

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Response to CTyankee (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 10:26 AM

18. I don't pay into SS as I'm a public employee in MO., I pay into PERS

 

so I don't really know a whole lot about this, but it would seem that the congress can remove the cap on SS w/o the threat of a court challenge, I don't see a constitutional problem here.
Just my opinion of course.

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Response to CTyankee (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 10:28 AM

19. While I am not dead set opposed to raising the cap

there really is no reason to increase the revenue stream into Social Security. Medicare needs revenue help, SS doesn't. Medicare funding isn't capped at all.

If and when SS actually needs more revenue to meet current obligations, that would be the time to consider an increase.

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Response to CTyankee (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 10:30 AM

20. Without the cap, solvency of SS is assured

and EVERYONE could pay LOWER rate!


rocktivity

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Response to CTyankee (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 10:36 AM

21. If an increase would draw a challenge, the same case could be made against the current cap

There comes a point when folks are digging for shadows to chase them into inaction so even the most sensible plans of action can be punted into some hoped for future, while the profits from the status quo continue and grow which also postpones indefinitely any change as well.

Being utterly risk adverse means poor leadership and weak action and it means becoming conservative, not regressive but certainly conservative in a dictionary definition kind of way and eventually to inaction to the point of paralsys except what is safe, which to their minds means blending in with the regressives.

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