Thursday, May 03, 2007

Raising the income limit is no solution so Social Security woes

Recently The Ann Arbor News ran an editorial in in favor of raising the income limit on which Social Security wages are taxed as a way to help the financial stability of Social Security. The editorial didn't indicate whether or not they also supported raising the benefit level paid to higher income workers, but I would have to ask if not, why not?

The current Social Security benefit structure is somewhat progressive, in that workers who pay in less over their career get a bit more of a return on the taxes they paid in than those who paid more. If the income limit is raised, or eliminated, those with higher incomes would be paying substantially more in taxes, and would see little or no increase in their benefit level. This would greatly increase the progressivity of the system and will even likely result in a negative return for those workers who have higher incomes for much of their career. Somehow people have it in their head that high income workers are somehow not paying their fair share. This is patently false. A high income worker gets less of a return on his/her 'investment' than those who earn less. To increase the level of income which is subject to tax doesn't make the system fairer, it does quite the opposite.