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FICA Tax is Regressive-- Let's Get rid of it

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BrentWil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 10:36 PM
Original message
FICA Tax is Regressive-- Let's Get rid of it
Edited on Wed Jun-30-10 10:36 PM by BrentWil
FICA is a regressive tax. The money is not a retirement system and simply goes into government intakes. In other words, in reality the money is no different then money that comes from income taxes. Sense it is only taxed on the first $108K, it is also very regressive. I say, it it time to take anyone that makes less then 100K out of the federal tax system. Fund all government spending on income tax on those who make more then 100K and a tax a sales tax on luxury items. It it time to give the middle class and poor a hand up and fund SS and Medicare from income tax on the rich. What do you think?
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Angry Dragon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 10:44 PM
Response to Original message
1. Keep dreaming
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SunnySong Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 10:46 PM
Response to Original message
2. Cool can I have a pony too... we need to raise taxes not lower them. nt
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w4rma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 11:06 PM
Response to Reply #2
7. We don't need to raise any taxes, right now, on the middle and lower classes.
You raise taxes on people who are making money, not people who are struggling to get by.
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SunnySong Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 11:08 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. I agree but in reality even the middle classes are not paying enough. nt
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girl gone mad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 11:27 PM
Response to Reply #8
15. Not paying enough for what?
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WinkyDink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 10:28 AM
Response to Reply #8
63. Example?
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Canuckistanian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 11:12 PM
Response to Reply #2
10. Then raise them for the very people who can afford them
The rich. And I'm NOT talking about those who earn $250k/yr.

I'm talking about the 1/10 of 1% of the richest.
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girl gone mad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 11:26 PM
Response to Reply #2
14. raise taxes in the midst of a deflationary recession with double digit unemployment?
How very Hooverian.
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Yupster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 10:10 AM
Response to Reply #2
52. Here's a tax policy idea that almost everyone will like
Raise taxes on everyone but me.

I get lots more benefits.

All problems solved.
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SunnySong Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 07:50 PM
Response to Reply #52
79. As long as you don't raise the pony tax as well I like it. nt
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WinkyDink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 10:27 AM
Response to Reply #2
62. YES---On the HIGHEST "earners".
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SunnySong Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 07:52 PM
Response to Reply #62
80. How about assets as well.. I am serious plenty of people hoard money and don't pay taxes.
That is why I am in favor of a broad federal tax that gets revenue from high consumption and capital gains.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 10:48 PM
Response to Original message
3. Yep. Let them pay back the FICA they stole
with the Bush tax cuts. That's what I say.
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Sherman A1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 04:54 AM
Response to Reply #3
17. Agreed
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wtmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 10:48 PM
Response to Original message
4. You'd find that suddenly there are millions who earn $99,999/year
Edited on Wed Jun-30-10 10:48 PM by wtmusic
and a booming economy in the Cayman Islands.
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WinkyDink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 10:29 AM
Response to Reply #4
64. Really? Well, let's not even TRY then! Let's just give the rich what they want!
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wtmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 11:11 AM
Response to Reply #64
70. Will you hold your breath 'til you turn blue, too?
A tax scale that steep isn't progressive at all. To counter the loss in revenue you'd have to tax $100K+ earners at something ridiculous like 90%. A lot of those people own small-to-midsize companies, and the ones that already haven't would hop their business over the border and take their jobs with them.

Or maybe the US economy can run on a powerhouse network of liquor stores, tanning salons, and porn shops. :silly:
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the other one Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 10:50 PM
Response to Original message
5. Yes.
Lower income people have shorter life expectency then higher income people. They pay in but don't live long enough to collect.
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KingFlorez Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 10:54 PM
Response to Original message
6. That would not work out well
The tax base would become much smaller and relying on the upper percentages for revenue would almost certainly lead to less revenue, because the top earners know how to avoid taxes. In turn, the burden would end up being shifted back to the lower income earners eventually.
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 11:12 PM
Response to Original message
9. It's regressive because the rich people like it like that way.
However, without a FICA tax the rich will really make out and the old people will die in ditches. Are you insane?
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BrentWil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 06:17 AM
Response to Reply #9
18. What are you talking about? I don't want to touch SS or Medicare.
FICA tax goes to the general fund like any other tax.
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 10:42 AM
Response to Reply #18
68. What????
FICA does not go into the general fund. Unfortunately, the general fund borrows from the FICA trust fund that our Social Security and Medicare are paid from. Remember when Al Gore was made fun of when he talked about a lock box? This is what he was talking about, making it impossible for the FICA fund to be raided by politicians to fund wars and other non-pension expenses.
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DURHAM D Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 11:13 PM
Response to Original message
11. Wrong.
It is regressive on the front end but progressive on the pay out.

From a post earlier today explained well by DUer Statistical:


SS is progressive because the compensation is progressive.

Essentially what you "get out" is based on what you put in however it is on a sliding scale.

SS takes top 35 wage earning years (adjusted for inflation) and then gets average monthly income of those 35 years.
Years worked beyond 35 do not raise benefit (however since top 35 years are looked at it has effect of "dropping" lower paying years).

Your benefit check at full retirement is:
90% of wages on first $761
32% of wages between $762 and $4,586
15% of wages over $4,586

(These numbers are for 2010 and are adjusted for inflation each year).

Put all that together

Avg. monthly wage Benefit<= $761 90% of wages$762 to $4,586 $685 + 32% of wages over $761>$4,586 $1908 + 15% of wages over $4,586


So while everyone pays in at a fixed rate the "return" on that investment is higher for lower income members.

Sometimes real dollars makes more sense, compare two hypothetical workers.

Worker A has:
Inflation adjusted average income of $2,000 per month on highest 35 years of wages
Works total of 12 other years not included in SS calculation with average wage of $1,000 per month (only top 35 years are counted)
Retires at age 65 and lives 20 years on retirement.

Over entire working career Worker A contributes $61,008 in SS taxes (employer contributes another $61,008).
Worker B has first year benefit of $1157.48 a month and a total lifetime compensation of $277,795.20. This is excluding COLA increases.
Lifetime ROI on SS "investment" 455%.

Worker B has:
Inflation adjusted average income of $5,000 per month on highest 35 years of wages
Works total of 6 other years not included in SS calculation with average wage of $3,000 per month (only top 35 years are counted)
Retires at age 65 and lives 20 years on retirement.

Over entire working career Worker A contributes $143,592 in SS taxes (employer contributes another $143,592).
Worker A has first year benefit of $1930.50 a month and a total lifetime compensation of $463,320.00. This is excluding COLA increases.
Lifetime ROI on SS "investment" 323%.

Dollars to dollars:
Worker A gets $4.55 in benefits for each dollar paid into SS.
Worker B gets $3.23 in benefits for each dollar paid into SS.


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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 11:18 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. You know what. I have yet to receive in today's
dollars what I put in. And I have been collecting on my money for seven years and five in Medicare. Honestly, I have kept track and I'm not there yet. I may exceed my input but there are those who died before me that didn't who might pay for me. This is a huge strawman.
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BrentWil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 06:21 AM
Response to Reply #11
19. It is a regressive tax..
It isn't like a savings account. I understand the formula's for repayment. I would argue that it shouldn't be based at all on what you put in. Create an older age safety net and means test it so you aren't giving it to the very rich.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 08:33 AM
Response to Reply #19
22. Flat tax and progressive payout.
Edited on Thu Jul-01-10 08:35 AM by Statistical
Repayment is on a sliding scale.
90% of first $761 in monthly wages
32% of wages up to $4856
15% of wages over $4856

Lower income get higher return on their money. They are "paid back" faster and earlier. Rich get much lower return. Thus the system is progressive. It is neither flat (everyone paid back at same %) nor regressive (rich paid back higher return).

Social Security is a great program and it is fine the way it is. Ending FICA tax and moving to general funding would be the first step on marginalizing it, then turning it into "welfare" (people are getting something for nothing), then eliminating it. It won't happen overnight but 10-20 it will be gone.
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FBI_Un_Sub Donating Member (610 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 11:25 PM
Response to Original message
13. FICA
Edited on Wed Jun-30-10 11:26 PM by FBI_Un_Sub
LBJ diverted the FICA tax proceeds from the Social Security Trust fund to the General Fund. This was to "pay for" the Viet Nam war. Only supposed to be "temporary."

I would extend FICA to all Section 61 income (like all income)



61. Gross income defined
(a) General definition
Except as otherwise provided in this subtitle, gross income means all income from whatever source derived, including (but not limited to) the following items:
(1) Compensation for services, including fees, commissions, fringe benefits, and similar items;
(2) Gross income derived from business;
(3) Gains derived from dealings in property;
(4) Interest;
(5) Rents;
(6) Royalties;
(7) Dividends;
(8) Alimony and separate maintenance payments;
(9) Annuities;
(10) Income from life insurance and endowment contracts;
(11) Pensions;
(12) Income from discharge of indebtedness;
(13) Distributive share of partnership gross income;
(14) Income in respect of a decedent; and
(15) Income from an interest in an estate or trust.




http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/uscode26/usc_sec_26_0...


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David__77 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 12:05 AM
Response to Original message
16. I would favor lifting the cap instead.
That would be a much more politically possible route for generate a more progressive outcome.
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BrentWil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 08:20 AM
Response to Reply #16
20. You are still taxing the rich at the same rate as the poor and then excluding all income above a
pont.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 08:33 AM
Response to Reply #20
23. However poor get higher return on their "investment". n/t
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BrentWil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 08:49 AM
Response to Reply #23
26. The middle class doesn't NT
And either way, it isn't an "investment". It is tax income. The money that goes into FICA goes the same place that any other tax money goes to. Why not think of it as any other taxes and go from there. Would it be a good idea to cap income tax at $109K?
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 08:50 AM
Response to Reply #26
27. the amount you get out of SS is DIRECTLY related to what you pay in.
Edited on Thu Jul-01-10 08:52 AM by Statistical
The middle class also gets a higher return on their payroll taxes paid. Don't want to call it an investment? Fine.

Assuming 20 years of retirement.

Poor get about $5 back for every dollar paid in SS taxes.
Middle class get about $3-4 back for every dollar paid in SS taxes.
Rich get about $2 back for every dollar paid in SS taxes.

(Raising the cap to $250K would lower the ROI for rich to about $1.50 back for every dollar paid).
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FBI_Un_Sub Donating Member (610 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 10:26 AM
Response to Reply #20
60. Blow away the cap.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 08:29 AM
Response to Original message
21. Tax is flat, benefits are progressive, overall system is progressive.
The universality of SS is what has kept it alive for decades.

End the payroll tax and Republicans will gut SS the next time they are in power as part of cutting the budget. More for weapons, less for social security.

SS is fine the way it is. It has survived decades. No reason to change it.
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BrentWil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 08:36 AM
Response to Reply #21
24. THe tax ISN'T flat at all...
Edited on Thu Jul-01-10 08:41 AM by BrentWil
It ONLY taxes income up to $108K. Thus as incomes go over $108K or income comes from other sources people pay a smaller and smaller percentage of FICA.

I am NOT talking about touching the programs. I am talking about eliminating a tax. It is ONLY a myth that the tax is for SS funding anyway. They are government intakes and all intakes are treated the same.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 08:48 AM
Response to Reply #24
25. then eliminate (or more realisticly raise) the cap.
Still the benefits are based on what is paid in.

Thus everyone from the poorest of the poor to upper middle class has an interest in preserving SS.

This "universality" has kept SS alive despite decades of dismantling every other social safety net.

Your goal of "not paying for SS" + "means test" = welfare.

That is how it will be portrayed and you suddenly just gave everyone above the means test a very good reason to kill it off forever. Combine that with conservative idiots who vote against their own interests and SS will be dead in a decade.

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BrentWil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 08:51 AM
Response to Reply #25
28. I would suggest we change the benefits.
Everyone gets the same, but we fade out SS as income raise. In other words, we means test it so that it goes to the poor and middle class during their old age.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 08:52 AM
Response to Reply #28
29. That is called welfare and "social security" would be dead in a decade.
Edited on Thu Jul-01-10 08:54 AM by Statistical
Despite decades of Republicans dismantling every program that helps poor or middle class SS has remained strong. The benefits have never been reduced and the retirement age only increased once by up to 2 years (somewhat reasonable since life expectancy has increased almost 12 years in same time period).

You think it is magic that SS has survive where countless other programs have died, been underfunded, or stripped?
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BrentWil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 08:58 AM
Response to Reply #29
30. SS is welfare that is changed around to hide the fact from the public..
But it is a simple fact. People who are getting money today or taking from current workers and the Chinese. I don't think it is magic, it is because old people vote.

I say this not to state a conservative position, but to acknowledge reality. I would also state that a just society needs to take care of the elderly and provide for them. However, treating FICA as somehow ACTUALLY related to SS funding is silly.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 09:02 AM
Response to Reply #30
31. FICA CONTRIBUTIONS ARE DIRECTLY REALTED TO SOCIAL SEUCURITY BENEFITS PAID.
Edited on Thu Jul-01-10 09:15 AM by Statistical
The exact formula is made public:
http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10070.html#estimate

This means everyone in the country has an incentive to keep social security alive. Not just poor old, or middle class old, but all retirees, and all people close to retirement, and even all middle ages persons.

This is the critical element that has kept SS separate from welfare and other social programs which have died on the vine. You are paid based on your contributions. If you contribute more then you are paid more, if you contribute less then you are paid less. However it is on a sliding scale so there are higher ROI for lower income.

It is a nearly perfect system it can use some tweaks
a) likely FICA needs to rise by about 0.5%
b) SS cap should be raised/eliminated all all income subject to SS tax.
c) all employees should be required to participate (roughly 4% of workforce is currently exempt).
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BrentWil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 09:06 AM
Response to Reply #31
32. The Formula that relates to the benefits of Social Security does not relate to where the FICA tax
actually goes. That is a benefit scheme that in reality has no relationship whatsoever to what happened to the money that you put in.

A better system to make it work would be to provide a safety net to all Americans but the upper class. The reason it would stay around is because 90 percent of Americans would get it.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 09:09 AM
Response to Reply #32
33. Are your arms tired?
Edited on Thu Jul-01-10 09:10 AM by Statistical
Those goal posts must be heavy.

"A better system to make it work would be to provide a safety net to all Americans but the upper class."

Why? The rich only get back 15% of wages above $4856 a month. The other 85% of the contributions they pay help provide solvency for the system. There is no reason to remove them from the program. They paid the contributions, they earned the benefit. By keeping them in the system SS retains universality and the rich get lower return on their contributions. Win-win.

Your two schemes (ending payroll taxes & means test) would only serve to undermine SS. It would be crippled and rolled back, and eventually new employees given the option of opting-out. You would accomplish what Republicans haven't been able to do in 60 years.
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BrentWil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 09:22 AM
Response to Reply #33
35. There will be no option of "opting" in or out.
Edited on Thu Jul-01-10 09:28 AM by BrentWil
It will be a system in which 95 percent of the population knows they will benefit from. That will ensure that it stays alive.

Just because a benefit scheme was used to sale the program (and the scheme has no relationship to actual reality), does not mean that we should keep a regressive tax because of it.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 09:31 AM
Response to Reply #35
37. "(and the scheme has no relationship to actual reality)"
Edited on Thu Jul-01-10 09:35 AM by Statistical
The "scheme" is exactly related to relaity.

The benefits is DIRECTLY related to contributions. Period.
It doesn't matter that funds to go employee -> treasury -> general fund -> SS fund -> employee

The amount paid to the employee is directly related to contributions. It is the basis for entire system.

The tax isn't regressive. It is a contribution and the ROI on that contribution is very progressive.

The system could be improved by higher cap, inclusion of unmarried partners in benefits, higher benefits for lowest income americans (maybe move first tier from 90% of wages to 100% of wages).

There is no need to scrap the entire system and replace it with an unfunded general liability which will ultimately be subject to benefit restrictions when "austerity" rears its ugly head.

For what purpose? To elimniate FICA tax? Most low income Americans pay no income tax. Eliminating FICA tax would simply result in the income tax being raised on those same people resulting in same net income.

A massive & complex undertaking that serves no purpose unless your true agenda is to undermine the greatest social program the United States has ever devised.
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BrentWil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 09:55 AM
Response to Reply #37
42. How is the tax not regressive?
For 2009 and 2010, the employee's share is 6.2% of gross compensation up to a limit of $106,800 of compensation (resulting in a maximum tax of $6,621.60). So in other words, an employee that makes 106,800 pays 6.2 percent. An employee that makes $250K still pays the same 6,621.60 which would be 2.6 percent of his income.

Some of the ways you mention to improve the system would improve it are worthwhile. However, they are problems that are easily solvable if you get rid of the silly benefits scheme. For example, a simple payment based on the age of the person and income would take care of the problem with married couples. The basic problem with your flow chart is that it also goes like the following.

employee -> treasury -> general fund ->DOD -> War

Income Tax -> treasury -> general fund -> SS fund -> employee

And the only REAL means that FICA pays for ANYTHING related to SS...


CURRENT employee -> treasury -> general fund -> SS fund -> PAST employee

In other words, government intakes are government intakes. It REALLY doesn't matter where they come from and you ARE'T getting a return on your money. You are getting a current workers money or money from the Chinese. That is simple reality.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 10:05 AM
Response to Reply #42
48. Then raise or eliminate the cap. No need to scrap the entire program. n/t
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BrentWil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 10:07 AM
Response to Reply #48
49. I am not scraping the program. I am stopping tax on the poor and middle class
How about a reverse cap. You start paying when your income is over $110K. Call it FICA and say it "funds" SS and Medicare, if that makes you feel better.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 10:12 AM
Response to Reply #49
54. Then under current legislation only rich would get SS.
You seem to be ignoring that FICA CONTRIBUTIONS ARE THE BASIS FOR BENEFITS UNDER SS.

The benefit formulas are based on legislation. The amount you pay in determine the amount the govt pays out.
You can't simply end the funding without also ending benefits.

So it would require new legislation for some new "old person welfare" program. So you are trusting that Congress (wholly owned by the rich and corporate interests) will somehow make SS 2.0 better than the current program. The reality is it likely will be far, far, far worse.

It also will suffer from continual funding problems like any other govt program because we have a Congress that loves to spend far more than it has in revenue.

SS is solvent, the benefits are progressive. There is absolutely no reason to change it.

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BrentWil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 10:16 AM
Response to Reply #54
57. As I said, the benefits should be means tested and given to all NT
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 10:20 AM
Response to Reply #57
58. Which would a) require Congress to COMPLETE rewrite SS
b) give Republicans opportunity to put poison-pills into SS
c) make SS welfare

10 years SS is dead.
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BrentWil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 10:27 AM
Response to Reply #58
61. It would require Congress to change the law..
But it is no poison pill. It will make the program much more popular among the masses.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 10:32 AM
Response to Reply #61
67. No it wouldn't,.
Congress is OWNED by the corporations, rich, and special interest.

Why the fuck would they make the system better?

Tax Reform (circa 1980)?
Welfare Reform (circa 1990)?
Health Care Reform?
Financial Reform?

Starting to see the picture.

You honestly believe that any program our wholly owned Corporatist Congress could come up with today would be better than the program passed by the Congress in 1935. A program with a 70 year track record of paying out benefits progressively?

:rofl:

I got a bridge to sell you, or maybe some beach front property in the Gulf (added bonus lifetime supply of oil included).
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BrentWil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 11:08 AM
Response to Reply #67
69. We have huge majorities in Congress now..
NOW is the time to act for things that will make life better for the middle class and poor. SS isn't going anywhere. It is protected by the biggest and most active voting block.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 11:13 AM
Response to Reply #69
71. Our huge majorities haven't been able to pass ANYTHING even close to as progressive as 1935 SS Act.
Edited on Thu Jul-01-10 11:17 AM by Statistical
You might have faith but a huge portion of the Democratic party is either heavily influenced by the rich, are DINOS, or wholly owned by corporate interests.

I have more faith in the 1935 SS Act than anything Congress could pass today.

Health Care Reform? - passed under Democratic majorities
NAFTA - signed by Democratic president
Financial Reform? - laughably weak

Social Security is strong and has survived 70+ days. Our current Congress couldn't reform their way out of a paper bag. :rofl:
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BrentWil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 11:43 AM
Response to Reply #71
76. THat is the fault of our leadership who don't think of big ideas..
Getting rid of FICA would be huge for alot of working people.
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Yupster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 10:14 AM
Response to Reply #35
55. Except for school teachers
For some weird reason, most teachers in many states including California and Texas are excempt from social security.

Why is this?

I have no idea, but social security would sure be helped if the universal program was made universal.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 10:24 AM
Response to Reply #55
59. Yeah that is one of the proposals that AARP came up with to improve solvency of SS.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Security_debate_%28...

Just requiring coverage for all NEW state employees would close the funding gap by about 10%.

Raise the cap to 90% of taxable earnings, and Raise taxes on benefits for high income earners would close the gap another 49% for combined amount of 59% of future funding gap.
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brentspeak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 09:35 AM
Response to Reply #28
38. If you're against lifting the cap but advocate means testing for benefits
Edited on Thu Jul-01-10 09:37 AM by brentspeak
then you are pretty much asking for Social Security to die.
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BrentWil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 09:37 AM
Response to Reply #38
39. I would be for lifting the cap, but that would be a compromise.
And this would in no ways in the program. In fact, it would make it more popular. The biggest problem young workers have is that they think they won't get it and they will pay into it for 45 years.

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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 09:38 AM
Response to Reply #38
40. That is my conclusion as well.
Eliminating the funding source for SS at the same time making it means test (welfare) will kill it. Inertia means it will take a long time to unwind but it will be unwound.

The idea that poor will save on taxes is equally silly. So FICA tax goes away. Well blam you just added nearly $1T deficit to general fund. Crap how are we going to pay for it. Lets see..... RAISE TAXES. The poor have plenty of money now right (they just got a 6.2% tax break).

So income taxes go up and net-net poor end up paying the same amount, social security is much more insolvent, and you now how pressure from those on the top to eliminate this "welfare program".

1-2-3 = Social Security dead in our lifetime.
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brentspeak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 09:55 AM
Response to Reply #40
43. Note also that the "FICA is regressive...but let's not lift the cap" argument is
Edited on Thu Jul-01-10 09:56 AM by brentspeak
the same argument of the "let's privatize Social Security" people. Here's a pro-Bush, "ownership society" article from 2005:

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/0...

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BrentWil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 10:08 AM
Response to Reply #43
50. Someone made this argument?
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BrentWil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 09:56 AM
Response to Reply #40
44. Its a funding source for the government in general.. not for SS
And yes.. Raise taxes, but on the more well off. Cycle money to those who are in need.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 10:01 AM
Response to Reply #44
46. We could raise taxes on the rich right now. We could cut taxes on poor right now
We could make minimum wage $14 in this country right now.

None of those things have happened.

What makes you think after you magically end FICA taxes that all the cost of SS will fall on this rich. You really think the same Congress which isn't raises taxes on rich rich now, which isn't providing living wages for the poor, and which isn't cutting taxes for the middle class will suddenly dump the $1T cost of SS funding all (100%) on the rich?

Really? :rofl:

What will change? If they aren't helping poor/middle class now how will ending FICA suddenly change their priorities.

IT WONT. FICA goes away. Taxes will rise for everyone. Your means test will give SS the label of welfare. Benefits will get cut to the point that more and more people will get out less than they are paying in taxes. Politicians will start talking about how if we just cutback on SS we can lower taxes.

You seem to live in some fantasy land where the poor and middle class have more representation than the rich. Must be nice.

I live in the real world and FICA/SS has ensured the program remains solvent for 60 years through the most conservative administrations.
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BrentWil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 10:05 AM
Response to Reply #46
47. Not really.
What has kept it around is the fact that old people get the benefit and vote. It is a benefit (and a good one), for them. FICA on the other hand is a regressive tax. Other taxes might go up, but at least they will not be in the form of one of the worse tax scheme's in history.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 10:09 AM
Response to Reply #47
51. You live in a fantasy land.
FICA would be replaced by raising lowest income tax bracket by the exact same amount.

Except now the funds wouldn't even be earmarked for SS. Plus SS would need to be completely rewritten because the legilsation which put it into place BASES BENEFITS ON CONTRIBUTIONS.

Under current legislation.
NO CONTRIBUTIONS = NO BENEFITS.

So you replace FICA a solid funding source for SS with making income tax more regressive (everyone will pay Congress isn't going to pass an annual $1T tax increase on rich).

Plus added a whole lot of uncertainty on how benefits are calculated and paid for. Plus you some how seem to forget there are Republicans in Congress. You don't think they will pass amendments to weaken SS in the process.

All this for what?
More regressive income taxes just to say we eliminated FICA.
More uncertainty about the survivability of SS.
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BrentWil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 10:15 AM
Response to Reply #51
56. THEY AREN'T EARMARKED!!!
That is the WHOLE point. Government intakes are treated the same, in reality. The fantasy is that the FICA is paying for anything but the general fund.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 10:30 AM
Response to Reply #56
65. Never said it wasn't paid into general fund HOWEVER LEGISLATION
Edited on Thu Jul-01-10 10:37 AM by Statistical
sets benefits based on contribution rate so they are earmarked.

CBO includes SS benefits and all future projected benefit growth based in all budget analysis. The mechanism they use for calculating current and future benefits is the SS legislation which set SS benefits based on SS contributions. This sets everything from requirements for budgets, to projected deficits, to 10 year national debt projections. While the money goes into general fund the idea that THE AMOUNT YOU CONTRIBUTE has no relationship to the BENEFITS PAID is the fantasy.

The entire basis for social security is a mechanism is which your future benefits are based on a sliding scale of your lifetime contributions.

You can't remove one half of the equation and leave the other half. Thus removing FICA contributions means removing SS benefits.

Now you could replace it with SS 2.0 however I don't trust the current Congress and I think the risk (massive) far outweigh any benefits (minimal because removing payroll taxes will likely be used as an excuse to make income tax more regressive).

Essentially you are trusting that today's 2010 Congress is more progressive than the one in 1935. I will put my money on the fact that the system they came up in 1935 (when Congress actually cared about the people) will be superior to any "reform" they could come up with today with our corrupt, corporatist, lobbyist controlled Congress.

Health Care Reform
Welfare Reform
Tax Reform
Financial Reform

Starting to get the picture that anytime Congress "reforms" something it doesn't help the poor/middle class. This wouldn't be any different.

You would replace SS with some "old person welfare" which would be crappy, unpopular, and dead in our lifetime. No thanks.

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BrentWil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 11:14 AM
Response to Reply #65
73. In 1935, it was a means to sell the program..
It was sold as a "retirement" program. However, the fact remains, it is welfare. The money that you paid in has long sense gone. You are getting money from other workers and debt. Those are simply the facts.

I suggest that we understand that, stop the fantasy, and support those that need it. The general program of SS is going NOWHERE anytime soon, however. While one could perhaps expand benefits to all, means test for income, and get rid of FICA, the actual program isn't going anywhere. Old people vote.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 11:20 AM
Response to Reply #73
74. Completely wrong. Stop reading RW garbage about SS.
Edited on Thu Jul-01-10 11:25 AM by Statistical
SS is a pay go system. Has been for almost 40 years now.

The SS reform under Reagan actual resulted in current workers paying MORE than necessary to fund current benefits thus generating the surplus which is then loaned to general fund.

"I suggest that we understand that, stop the fantasy, and support those that need it. The general program of SS is going NOWHERE anytime soon, however. While one could perhaps expand benefits to all, means test for income, and get rid of FICA, the actual program isn't going anywhere. Old people vote. "

:rofl:

With our current Congress? Really? A massive risk. Social Security is just fine. The payroll taxes have helped to make income taxes more progressive. Half of Americans pay no income tax, roughly 20% of them get income from federal govt (fully refundable credits, EIC, etc). Income taxes on the poor have been in a downward slide for last 50 years. You think that is a coincidence or maybe it is indirect tax relief for FICA. What do you think happens when FICA goes away?

The idea that we will get rid of FICA, no raise income taxes (those no net benefit), keep benefits the same, and pass $1T in new taxes on the rich (roughly doubling income taxes), and not have any bad things happen is a conclusion one can only reach while high or pushing an agenda under the guise "helping the poor".
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BrentWil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 11:40 AM
Response to Reply #74
75. Before Reagan, it still went into the General Fund
Income taxes is paying for SS just as much as FICA is. The bottom line is, it is a regressive tax. Eliminating the cap on FICA would be a step and I agree with that. But a better step would be to eliminate FICA. As of right now, it is a bad tax that taxes that is regressive. The poor and middle class should be out of the federal tax system.
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lonestarnot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 09:19 AM
Response to Original message
34. Oh sure, no benefits for anyone after they've paid in for years, especially when they need it.
Sounds like Dickshootemintheface. Eliminate everything possible for workers, poor etc. Then steal all the tax money.
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BrentWil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 09:23 AM
Response to Reply #34
36. Someone say that? I am talking about getting rid of a regressive tax code NT
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WinkyDink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 10:30 AM
Response to Reply #34
66. Where are you getting this from?
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blindpig Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 09:39 AM
Response to Original message
41. Yep

Tax wealth, tax it to death.
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BrentWil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 09:59 AM
Response to Reply #41
45. That would also be self defeating, after a point. But this could be paid for, if done right.
The middle class and poor should be paying no taxes.
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blindpig Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 10:11 AM
Response to Reply #45
53. How so?

The point is to deprive the ruling class of it's power, which is contained in wealth. The fruits of labor belong to the laborers.
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KamaAina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 11:13 AM
Response to Original message
72. Better still, get rid of the income cap
make the richies pay their full share.
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BrentWil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-02-10 12:12 PM
Response to Reply #72
81. Well it isn't really their full share, as they will never get what they put in out of it...
it is redistribution of wealth. However, that is something that I think is okay, at least to a limit about
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ParkieDem Donating Member (417 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 12:08 PM
Response to Original message
77. "a sales tax on luxury items"
Who defines what's a "luxury item?"

These "luxury" taxes often sound good, but oftentimes they just hurt working people. I remember several years ago there was a luxury tax on yachts, which effectively doubled their price. Rich people simply quit buying yachts, and the yachtmakers either cut back or went out of business, putting lots of people out of work.

Now, before you accuse me of being a trickle-down supply-sider, I fully agree that our tax system needs to be more progressive and that rich people should pay more. But this isn't the way to do it.

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Yo_Mama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 12:38 PM
Response to Original message
78. The rich don't have enough money
Look, even if you just confiscated all the assets of people with net assets of over 5 million, you'd run out of money in a couple of years.

Literally, we spend too much and our wealth is spread too evenly to be able to do this. If people want government programs, they have got to pay for them.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-02-10 03:25 PM
Response to Reply #78
82. Deleted message
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