February 10, 2010

OP-ED: The 1 percent Social Security solution

By Randolph Brandt

For RacinePost

There is a Roadmap for America’s Future that actually will work.

Raise the Social Security, Medicare payroll tax and net earners’ tax by 1 percent.

That’s right, just 1 percent. And then make it applicable to everybody, including the nearly 20 percent of Americans who make more than $106,000 a year and, thus, are further exempted from paying anything more into the Social Security system at all.

While you (probably) and me (certainly) never got the chance to escape paying a payroll tax for Social Security on every single dollar we ever earned during our entire working lives, people who are rich escape paying that tax once they start earning more than you and I ever dreamed of earning in our entire lifetimes.

Now, for the median income wage earner in the United States, and the vast majority of their employers, that “tax increase” would amount to considerably less than a dollar a day.

But for, say, somebody who makes a million dollars a year, that means they’d pay somewhere around 25 dollars a day, about what they’d leave as a tip at dinner at some fancy restaurant for a waiter or waitress who’s still paying Social Security taxes on their meager earnings while the customer they’re serving has long since been exempted from the tax.

Remember, you and I paid that Social Security tax on every dollar we ever earned, for every hour, for every week’s pay, all our working lives.

I don’t think it’s too much to ask rich people to do the same thing that you and I have always done.

That’s not “soak the rich” or “class warfare.”

It’s just just.

And let’s not let the lobbyists exempt anybody from the pain of the extra 1 percent. Since we’re all in this together, let’s insist that everybody pay the same on all income, regardless of whether it’s $500 a week or $50,000 a week.

Are rich people so much better than everybody else that they should be exempted from taxes on their additional gross earnings because it’s assumed they’ll somehow use their money better than we use ours?

I don’t think so.

What I do think is that if everybody forked over a dollar a day (or $25 a day for people making $1 million a year), Social Security and Medicare would last, in complete solvency, as it stands, forever, which also seems like a pretty good idea.

Now, there are many charlatans out there who’ll cry wolf about Social Security and Medicare going bankrupt.
(A) That isn’t really true, even now; and
(B) Very minor changes in the Social Security system would avoid all that doom and gloom anyway.
But let’s look at the charlatans’ proposed changes: Instead of guaranteed Social Security and Medicare at 65, people would instead have to work until they’re 70. That’s a pretty dismal prospect, since most people now retire at 62. So, the charlatans are just taking it for granted that you can and will work an extra eight years, by which time nearly half of your age cohort will already be dead, saving another huge bundle in costs. (Now, that’s what I call a government death panel!)

And as for Medicare, it would be scrapped by the charlatans, in favor of an $11,000 voucher to pay for your medical costs every year for the rest of your retirement. That means instead of Medicare paying all your necessary medical costs, with an administrative fee of 3 percent, you’ll be forced into the private insurance market, where administrative costs now hover around 30 percent.

Do the math. That’s a huge increase in your administrative fees and a nearly 30 percent reduction in your medical care.

And wait until the next year, and the year after that, as medical-cost inflation continues to eat away at your care.

Let’s say that somehow, magically, the charlatans’ changes occurred today. That would mean you’d be working an extra eight years, and by the time you retired, your medical care voucher would be worth only 20 percent of what it was worth when you would have preferred to quit!

The 1 percent solution makes more sense, and doubly so if and when we insist that everybody – rich and poor – pay their own fair share.
Randolph D. Brandt is the retired editor of the Journal Times.


  1. PrefersCoffee2/10/2010 11:51 PM


    Before the angry mob picks up steam, I just want to thank you for your common sense, "we're all in this together," ideas.

    Racine is a better place with you as a concerned resident.

  2. Randy, let me get his right. You want me to pay additional SS tax on the wages I earn over $106K although my benefits are capped at the $106K level?

    So Randy, answer me this. How much of my own hard work, investment do you think I'm entitled to?
    You seem to think that everyone else is entitled to take from me and you propose that government be your tool to do that.
    So another words, you want to punish me for being successful? The Obama is going to push my personnel income tax to 37% and when you add in the state and local taxes I'll pay 45-50% of what I earn to the government. So in other words I'm pretty much your and the government's BITCH.

    Randy, do you know what this is going to do to small business owners who have S and C-corp companies? Probably not.

  3. Lets not forget the extra taxes that we will have to pay for our Pigs at the state level. Choo-choo tax, recycling tax, this tax, that tax. Where does it all stop? It stops when we get spending under control and that happens when we throw the big spenders and socialists out.

    Im sorry Randolph, I know longer trust government to manage the people's money. What evidence can you show me that they know what they are doing? You want them to take even more? You are delusional.

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. "How much of my own hard work, investment do you think I'm entitled to?"
    Here's a question for you:
    How much of what you have is do to all the investments that this government has made in our country and it's infrastructure? We as taxpayers have paid for roads, for the ability to defend ourselves, for education and for so many things that have contributed to all that we enjoy as Americans.

  6. The Ghost of FDR2/11/2010 7:08 AM

    I agree that SS taxes need to be raised and I am in favor of eliminating the cap on high income earnings. I also believe that we need to have a reduced benefit scheme for those who are retired but have an income of greater than $1,000,000 per year. I am not in favor of any revisions to SS that do not include addressing both sides of the ledger...i.e. more money coming in and at least a bit less money going out. To do less than that is not a full solution. I would reduce the capital gains taxes to appease the high income people affected here.

  7. YAHOO!!!

    What a wonderful addition to your new Racine media -- Seeing this addition is very exciting.

    The Racine post is getting better with each issue.

    Many of us are passing the word and telling friends about your site.

  8. Please just take everything be faster. 1% for this 1% for that another .5% for this real neat idea...

  9. Randy - The Tax Man - find another country to live in old boy.

  10. If the argument is that people over 106K do not get benefits, by all means give them soc. security benefits. The 1% they pay in to the system will far offset the benefit received. This would also level out the federal deficit quickly. People in this tax bracket consistently bitch about regulation and taxes yet they are somehow rich in spite of the cruel world out there. This seems like a good alternative to privatizing soc.security which would ultimately create fraud and the manipulation of the poor.

  11. Tim the Shrubber2/11/2010 8:32 AM

    "Randy, let me get his right. You want me to pay additional SS tax on the wages I earn over $106K although my benefits are capped at the $106K level?"

    That was my immediate thought also. I don't know he can claim with any seriousness that this is not a 'soak the rich' idea.

    The summary of that idea is that people making over $106k would suddenly have to start paying more into the social security system, but would never see any additional benefit. That is pretty much a blatant redistribution policy.

  12. Tim the Shrubber2/11/2010 8:37 AM

    "Remember, you and I paid that Social Security tax on every dollar we ever earned, for every hour, for every week’s pay, all our working lives."

    Ummm...that is not entirely true...as a grad student I did not have to pay the social security taxes on the income I earned as a teaching or research assistant. (Of course, I also did not get that income credited to me in the social security system either.) I would bet there are other exceptions also.

  13. Do the rich even get social security when they reach 66? Since it's taxed as personal income, I imagine the government just keeps most of what they've paid in. The current cap may figure that into the formula.

    Thank goodness for the wealthy, we get to take their money in the end through estate tax. Maybe we've raided the SS fund long enough to now have to pay the piper. It's not the fault of the wealthy.

  14. Randy says "Most people now retire at 62". Really? This may be true in the public sector where public employee unions have forced this option on taxpayers. Let's remember many public employee union members do not pay social security taxes. Is it too much to ask for a little documentation here?

  15. So a government exemption for grad school designed to benefit students to increase their education which ultimately helped you make more money is your argument that the working class doesn't pay their fair share? I don't see the connection.

  16. The 1% solution makes a lot of sense to me. It is nice when I reach the social security max and see a little more take home pay, but I would rather continue to pay into social security if it will sustain the system for the benefit of all of us.

    It is interesting to seen how many greedy bloggers there are. An extra $30 a month will not noticed by those making over $106,000. Especially if it is used for the common good for all Americans

  17. Tim the Shrubber2/11/2010 8:49 AM

    "Instead of guaranteed Social Security and Medicare at 65, people would instead have to work until they’re 70. That’s a pretty dismal prospect, since most people now retire at 62. So, the charlatans are just taking it for granted that you can and will work an extra eight years, by which time nearly half of your age cohort will already be dead, saving another huge bundle in costs."

    1. This would quite honestly bring the Social Security program back in line with its original intent. When Social Security was started the average lifespan was about 65 years old. It was never indented that the program would provide a relaxing retirement for most people, since it was assumed that most of the age cohort would be dead before it started to collect benefits.

    2. Most people should not retire at 62. If they can still work, they should still be working.

  18. Tim the Shrubber2/11/2010 8:52 AM

    "... is your argument that the working class doesn't pay their fair share?"

    I made no claim of any sort that said the working class not paying its share.

    Just pointing out that there are other exemptions from the tax. (And in all honesty, why should grad students be exempt from paying it????)

  19. It does seem like a simple system. Everyone pays in equal percentage, everyone receives benefits equally regardless of income. This is obviously wealth distribution, but is limited in scope. The societal benefits far outweigh the slight loss of income from the highest tax brackets. This should have been addressed years ago before the baby boom generation hit retirement age. Now we must pay the piper for short term tax savings in the past

  20. Reagan did something similar. It was a temporary fix. Health care costs need to be addressed also (which doesn't mean gov't health care).
    Tim is right on the age thing. Those were much different times then.

  21. Tim is right on the age thing. Retirement age should be based on life expectancy rates at the given time. I also think we could be better at proactively setting social security tax levels based on birth rate data, projected immigration data, etc. to avoid playing catch up in the future like we are now.

  22. Nothing personal, but now that Randolph is retired, having destroyed his health with a lifetime of chocolate doughnuts, coffee and cigarettes, and living in a beautiful house, he is telling us how much more we need to do for him.

  23. LOL. nothing personal = extremely personal

  24. It is just 1% here, 1% there, $50 here, $100 there, .5% more sales tax for this, 21% lodgine tax, $18 rental care, licensing up, just another 10% for the schools (It's all about the children), etc. etc. etc. etc.

    Every dollar well intentioned old school liberals like Randy ask for is another dollar out of the economy. Every dollar out of the economy is a dollar less to spur recovery and create jobs.

    It is the ever growing and crippling size of government that causes us to have shortages, funny the next time Randy suggests we shrink the size of government will be the first.

    A million here a million there, pretty soon you are talking about real money.

  25. The Social Security overcite committee says the S.S. rate should be raised 1.89% so the system would be stable for the next 75 years. Those out there who 'thought' they might not collect, will then receive there social security. Warreen Buffet the multi millionaire collects social security. He never paid his full salary social security either.

  26. ANON 6:37 AM

    Don't answer the question with another question. We are talking about SS not the other entities of government. If the feds weren't so corrupt and wasteful, the 1% issue wouldn't be a problem. You act like government knows how to manage the people's money when in fact they don't. As an example, just look at Murtha's airport to nowhere and mulipy that 150000x. Gibving goverment more money hasn't solved anything in fact it makes us enslaved to them.

  27. ANON 9:30 Please explain this

    Warreen Buffet the multi millionaire collects social security. He never paid his full salary social security either.

  28. Anon 9:39AM-

    You say we are talking about SS and not other government programs and then you cite other government programs as the reason to not do the 1%. Truth is rich or poor we all benefit from government programs whether directly or indirectly. And we will always have waste. We just argue over the level of government we want/need.

  29. While there are some good ideas in the op ed piece there is another piece missing. One of the key problems with social security is that it is paying for things it was never designed or funded to pay for when it was created. When it had money to burn disability and other spending was added to social security. That spending was never funded so all the added entitlements burned through the funds faster than expected.

    Like every government program the spending and funding have to be brought into sync. Spending is exceeding funding at every level of government and it has to be controlled.

    It is called common sense.

  30. Give me my SS and I'll invest it. I don't want my money going into that government black hole that guarantees nothing.

  31. Too bad you couldn't of invested it in Enron like my parent's did. Now I pay their bills.

    Great idea!

  32. So, your parents were idiots. Invest in mutual funs - on average over the years they've had a 10% return or better. What kind of return are you receiving from your SS? Will it be there when you want it. Giving money to the government is never a good investment.

  33. It's called Social Security for a reason. Otherwise, we'd call it Social Speculation.

  34. If you think there is any security you are an idiot also.

  35. There isn't "security" with either program. But there is less variability with social security. That has averaged paying seniors constantly for close to eighty years. I also think that if you wish to use the market to invest you can but you waive all rights to social security in the future.

  36. "mutual funs"

    Where do I find that? Sounds like a good time.

  37. From the history of Social Security posted at ssa/gov/history/lifeexpect.html

    "If we look at life expectancy statistics from the 1930s we might come to the conclusion that the Social Security program was designed in such a way that people would work for many years paying in taxes, but would not live long enough to collect benefits. Life expectancy at birth in 1930 was indeed only 58 for men and 62 for women, and the retirement age was 65. But life expectancy at birth in the early decades of the 20th century was low due mainly to high infant mortality, and someone who died as a child would never have worked and paid into Social Security. A more appropriate measure is probably life expectancy after attainment of adulthood.

    "As Table 1 shows, the majority of Americans who made it to adulthood could expect to live to 65, and those who did live to 65 could look forward to collecting benefits for many years into the future. So we can observe that for men, for example, almost 54% of the them could expect to live to age 65 if they survived to age 21, and men who attained age 65 could expect to collect Social Security benefits for almost 13 years (and the numbers are even higher for women).

    "Also, it should be noted that there were already 7.8 million Americans age 65 or older in 1935 (cf. Table 2), so there was a large and growing population of people who could receive Social Security. Indeed, the actuarial estimates used by the Committee on Economic Security (CES) in designing the Social Security program projected that there would be 8.3 million Americans age 65 or older by 1940 (when monthly benefits started). So Social Security was not designed in such a way that few people would collect the benefits.

    "As Table 1 indicates, the average life expectancy at age 65 (i.e., the number of years a person could be expected to receive unreduced Social Security retirement benefits) has increased a modest 5 years (on average) since 1940. So, for example, men attaining 65 in 1990 can expect to live for 15.3 years compared to 12.7 years for men attaining 65 back in 1940.

    "(Increases in life expectancy are a factor in the long-range financing of Social Security; but other factors, such as the sheer size of the "baby boom" generation, and the relative proportion of workers to beneficiaries, are larger determinants of Social Security's future financial condition.)"

  38. From Pew Research Institute:

    The average worker expects to retire at age 61, while the average retiree actually retired at 57.8.

  39. Tim the Shrubber2/11/2010 12:28 PM

    Wow...so many odd things in that SSA text...

    "But life expectancy at birth in the early decades of the 20th century was low due mainly to high infant mortality, and someone who died as a child would never have worked and paid into Social Security. A more appropriate measure is probably life expectancy after attainment of adulthood.

    That is a fair enough statement, but it does not really address the problem that the Social Security Act was passed based on one set of assumptions about lifespan, but now they are extremely different. Many more people are living to retirement age and they are living longer after that age.

    "So we can observe that for men, for example, almost 54% of the them could expect to live to age 65 if they survived to age 21..."

    Why 21 as the beginning of adulthood? By 21 I had already been paying into the system for awhile.

    Regardless, this does tell us that only a litte more than half of the men who made it to 21 would ever expect to see any money from he Social Security program, and 60% of women. I guess we could techinically say 'most people would get social security' becuase the % is about 50%, but we could conversely say than more than 40% of people who made it to 21 would never see a Social Security payment. These numbers are quite different now.

    "So Social Security was not designed in such a way that few people would collect the benefits."

    Perhaps not, but it was also not originally concieved as a program where they expected as large a proporortion of people who reached adulthood to get benefits as are currently.

  40. I see a couple of problems here:

    Thanks to the Democrats, the SS fund’s protection was eliminated when they moved those funds into the general fund. Put it back in its own protected account so that NONE of its monies can be used for anything other than what it’s intended for – social security.

    Thanks, originally to the Republicans, SS recipients had to pay a 15% income tax on their monthly benefits. Then, along came Clinton and his Democrats that turned it around: instead of paying a 15% tax, it was upped to 85%. SS recipients should not have to pay ANY tax at all on what they receive!

    Should the “rich” (anyone making over $106K a year) pay into the SS system? Yes. There is no guarantee that they will forever be in an income class that exempts them. Bad things happen and there is no reason to believe that a “rich” person will not some day become destitute and have to rely on the SS system to subsist.

    Anyone living below the poverty level should not have to contribute to the SS system. They need every penny they can get to survive. Also, anyone living just above the poverty level should not have to pay in if the deduction will then result in their income falling below the poverty level. However, those who don’t pay in should only receive the minimum benefit when it come time to retire, voluntarily at age sixty-five, and only if they are a natural born or nationalized citizen. ANYONE who is not a citizen of this country should not be eligible for any SS benefits. They are the responsibility of the country where they ARE citizens.

    There should be no forced retirement age. Companies should be required to let a person work as long as the person is productive, and therefore continuing to pay into the SS system rather than be forced to be a drain on it.
    After age 65, every healthy person should determine for themselves whether or not they want to continue working or retire.

    People should be allowed to set up private retirement accounts for themselves that they can draw on after retiring, with no tax penalty before or after. However, balanced against that income, their SS benefit should be adjusted downward. Once their private retirement account exceeds that of what their SS benefit would be, then they would no longer receive that benefit until their income falls back below the SS benefit level.

    I think these ideas make sense are fair overall.

  41. Tim,

    You could be right, but people's expectations change over time, and the number of Baby Boomers is overwhelming without a reform of the program.

    But when I see that Social Security this year processed a majority of retirees at 62, I suspect the politicians' expectations that people are really going to work well past 65 defies reality.

    Only about 17 percent of men and 10 percent of women work into their late 60s. (Though one survey does post that at nearly 30 percent, which I don't personally believe.)

    There's a real disconnect between political expectations and people's real behavior.

    Give it the "Who do you know" test. I worked with hundreds of people over 40 years. I can count on one hand the ones who were still working past 65.

    It's just not gonna happen.

  42. Looks like you got the basis for a pretty good system going there, Graham. Does it support itself, you suppose?

  43. Graham - Several good ideas in there. One thing though, you are likely right with the democrat comments but the Republicans did nothing to correct the issue when in power. Both parties have a hand in the legacy of SS.

  44. Still, to be perfectly and frankly selfish, I like the idea of all those young immigrants paying into Social Security to help support me.

  45. I would gladly give up any future SS benefits if I were able to manage my own money now.

  46. Pete and Dustin:

    Standards distinguish amateurs from professionals. If you are going to run a "legitimate" news site, then at some point you are going to have to adopt some standards for monintoring/deleting comments. At this point, without a set of standards, it is evident that your deletions are subjective.

    Of course, it's your choice whether you wish to be considered amateurs or professionals. My only point of contention is that if you are going to keep operating as amateurs, then please stop referring to yourselves as professionals. Without standards, you're just a couple of guys with a blog, a camera and a good connection to the old boys club.

  47. Love the healthy debate guys.


  48. Dustin - delete 3:24's comment just to prove a point. See how he likes them deleted apples.

    This is your house. Respect.

  49. Fascinating...

    So, lets see...

    High income earners pay 37% in tax+... Low income earners pay 20%, and get most of it back on their taxes.

    High income earners, pay into medicare, and will never see a dime of it. Low income earners, pay little, and will pull out multiples of what they put in.

    High income earners, create jobs, businesses, and grow the economy. Low income earners, don't.

    High income earners got to be that way, by sacrificing, accepting risk, and a strong work ethic. It wasn't randomly bestowed upon them.

    High income earners are already paying much higher taxes as a portion of their income, and you want more? You want more government handouts?

    I don't expect to change anyone's mind. Much has been written on this. Its this train of though, that "Someone ought to take care of me and pay my way" that keeps folks from become the "high earners" that they have contempt for....

    Oh, well...

  50. See this debate illustrates exactley why Ryan is right. SS should be privatized, Too many individuals see SS as an insurance policy for retirement, why not treat it as an investment? Based on my experience investments grow, insurance premiums don't.

  51. dan,

    Social Security is insurance. That's the whole point, and always has been, from its inception.

  52. "Still, to be perfectly and frankly selfish, I like the idea of all those young immigrants paying into Social Security to help support me."

    Most of them are paid under the table in cash - but they are paying into SS as a ruse to make everything look legal. Uh huh.

  53. "High income earners got to be that way, by sacrificing, accepting risk, and a strong work ethic. It wasn't randomly bestowed upon them."

    Anon 5:33 - The comment above could be applied to all economic classes of worker. Your argument has great merit because no matter if you make $300 or $3000 a week you still want to keep your money. There is no disputing that. Where there is dispute is the concept of "government handout". There are many paths to higher income. Some get there and some don't. But when you are successful, whether Christian or not you have a moral imperative to be your brothers and societies keeper. By economic success you are bound to either raise the success of the poor by improving educational opportunity or assist them in their need later in life. The conservative movement wants to underfund education and also take away the safety net of the poor. I don't believe this to be a self sustaining concept. It only further separates the haves and have nots. Selfishness and greed should never overcome the greatness of a community or a nation.

  54. Randolph, I think with a watchful eye on fraud and a full 1% additionally paid in by the over-106K earners, and by eliminating the benefits to those whose income supercede any benefit they may received, it is possible that it could be self-sustaining. Imagine the shot in the arm it would be if all the six-figure-earners, millionaires and billionaires paid in just 1% of their annual gross incomes. And then it would also be there for them, should they go belly up. It would also go a long way if every federal politician was on the same plan and we could do away with the 100% salary for life program that they currently get, even if they only serve one term.

    Anon 1:01, your observation is absolutely correct. The Republicans never should have initiated the 15% income tax on SS in the first place, and they should have prevented or overturned the 85% tax implemented by the Democrats during the Clinton administration. I saw a sign at the last TEA party that said, “We are tired of the Republicrats.” And they what they are. Both Republicans and Democrats have turned on the people and are running rampant with their tax and spend policies.

    Dan, maybe you should do a little historical research; the social security system was initiated as an retirement insurance program. It guaranteed a livable income to people once they retired, based on the amount they paid in. The only way to protect the Social Security Insurance Program is to pass laws that force the politicians to keep their hands off it!

  55. You have the wrong assumptions of conservatives. Listen to conservatives not the distorted opinions.

  56. "You have the wrong assumptions of conservatives. Listen to conservatives not the distorted opinions."

    I personally consider myself an independent. I don't believe I have formed my opinion by listening to others "distorted opinions". Where I get it from is watching the corporate CEO taking the huge bonus while campaigning to keep down the minimum wage. Only seeing Democrats pushing for the aid of low income college students. If I only look at the surface of the conservative platform it looks great, but actions speak louder than words. I find the problem in government is everything is all or nothing in the parties with no middle ground. Most in the country aren't far right or far left. I like less government but some social programs are for the greater good.

  57. "I find the problem in government is everything is all or nothing in the parties with no middle ground."

    Amen to that.

  58. http://www.taxfoundation.org/research/show/206.html

    This year, a record 44 million tax returns – one-third of all returns filed – will have no income tax liability because of the available credits and deductions in the tax code. This is a 50 percent increase in the number of zero-tax filers in just four years. In addition to these zero-tax filers is 14 million individuals or households who do not earn enough to file a tax return. Overall, some 58 million taxable households are outside of the income tax system.

    These findings raise some serious questions about the future of the U.S. income tax system. Are any future tax cuts, or even tax reforms, possible when the lion’s share of the tax burden is increasingly borne by a shrinking pool of taxpayers who – at least on paper – appear to be "upper-income"? And will the expanding pool of non-payers demand even higher income taxes? These are questions lawmakers must begin to debate.

  59. Anon, 4:26.

    Thought-provoking stats. Time to redo and simplify the tax code again (as was done under Reagan), with three simple effective rates and no deductions. Everybody (except for the poor who need the earned-income tax credit to stay above the poverty line), pays their way, much as I've suggested with the Social Security tax.

    If we did it, it'd probably come in somewhere around 10, 15 and 25, with plenty more collected to pay down the deficit and boost the private economy at the same time.

    Only problem is, we keep junking up the tax code for special interests, and by special interests, I'm including all the folks who like their home mortgage deductions and employee-paid health care exemptions.

    Cut it all out, bring the rates down to where they're affordable, yet still support government expenditures.

    People will want a fair tax code. I suspect many if not most oppose taxes because they don't think they're fairly applied.

    There's lots of people on both sides of the issues who ought to agree with that.

  60. Agree to that. This code we have now is ridiculous. Maybe we should trash the whole thing and go with a consumption based tax instead. This way we don't tax income and savings. Also, nobody can hide from paying taxes (they will buy stuff). It's not perfect but is much better that the current structure.

  61. Anon, 7:23.

    Nixon proposed a value added tax. Could work. Did in Canada, where I believe it pays for health care. Basic necessities, food, medicine and the like, exempted. You'd still have to reform and simplify income tax or prices would get really high, I suspect. But Congress ought to stop dithering and Republicans have to begin talking about taxation again, something they appear loathe to do. They seem to forget that nationally, Social Security's the real "third rail" of politics, not fair taxation.

  62. I think those advocating a flat tax and a consumption tax are both correct. Maybe we should have both. If everyone making below $25K per year were exempt from the flat tax, they would only pay the consumption tax. The others could pay on something similar to this:

    $26K to $35K pay a 10% flat rate and the consumption tax
    $36K to $49K pay a 15% flat rate and the consumption tax
    $50K to $74K pay a 20% flat rate and the consumption tax
    $75K to $99K pay a 25% flat rate and the consumption tax
    $100K to $149K pay a 30% flat rate and the consumption tax
    $150K to $249K pay a 35% flat rate and the consumption tax
    $250K and above pay a 40% flat rate and the consumption tax

    Also, each and every business should play a flat tax rate based on gross income. Net income wouldn’t work because there’d be too many ways to try and cheat.

    With a flat tax fairly distributed amongst earners and businesses, in conjunction with a flat 10% consumption tax, I think the government would have more money than they would need. There would be no deductions of any kind. People would have more money, the government would have more money and the economy would recover. Also, the consumption tax would insure that the government do as little as possible to impede business (reasonable regulation notwithstanding), thus causing the government to aid in maintaining a healthy business atmosphere, rather than tax it out of existence.

    But then, anything using common sense, like this, would be too far out of reach or our politician’s intellect and it would never be implemented.

  63. A hybrid solution would probably work quite well, although I would tweak the income/tax ramp a little as needed by performance. We just need to get the people than run this country (a lot of tax lawyers) to agree. The only way to do this is to get the people to understand this and make the change at the ballot box.
    The current system is an out of control debacle and needs to stop. The people that write the tax code don't even understand it.
    We then, as others have suggested, separate SS from the rest of the government money machine. This needs to be returned to the separate entity it once was.

  64. Thanks, everyone, for a stimulating discussion. Some very good ideas aired here. I wish the politicians would listen, too.

  65. Yes, a lot could be learned from the masses. Maybe the politians should start listening to their bosses (citizens). There are plenty of quality solutions out there.
    Thanks all.

  66. Mr. Brandt,
    I have always respected your ethics and morals.

    I also see that you are holding yourself up to chastisement from those whom benefit from a top down capitalism, a system where most wealth surges upward and some trickles down to the workers making $7-$10 /hr.; hardly enough to live on.

    I wonder what the 6 figure earners think that they would make in $$$ if they did not have a system provided for them that has workers scraping by on next to nothing and doing the millions of jobs in as close to a slave fashion as you can have.

    I guess the wealthier have it both ways; take the wealth AND have low wage workers do the work.


  67. Chris - what have these low paid workers done to improve their situation. Are they working while going to school, e.g Parkside, Carthage or Gateway. Are they trying to learn a skill which would turn into a tradesmans position? There is federal, state, grant and loans available if needed. It is easy to take the poor me position or you can take charge of your life and do something about it. Randy is a socialist and wants to penalize those who have worked hard and achieved higher paying positions. They should not be penalized for achieving their goals. I don't want to give my SS to the government. Give it to me to invest, and I'll forego any benefits in the future.

  68. You know who doesn't pay their fair share in this country? The POOR.

    They consume more services, need more policing, occupy more prison cells, their ill-behaved children suck up teacher attention and school resources, they pay no net income tax (and in fact receive "refunds" when they pay little or no taxes) and they get far more back from Social Security than they every pay in.

    Now Randy wants us to provide more for them. Why should we pay more in Social Security taxes, when we will receive not one extra cent for it? So it can go to the parasitic class? Privatize Social Security - put what I pay in, earned by MY HARD WORK, in an account that I own, that my children can inherit if I don't live long enough to collect it. I'd much rather it go to them, than the parasitic class, for which Randy is a cheerleader.

  69. Anon 9:07, be careful. Randy doesn't like hearing the truth and will only berate you for espousing it. He's too much a champion of the poor to want them to try and better themselves and rise above their situation. If they did, he'd have no one to worship him and keep him on his pedestal.

  70. Randy only likes hearing himself.

  71. My government has me financially water boarding my own children a& grand children, and their weapon of monetary destruction (WMD)is social security - go to soon to be launched www.americaretoday.com for a real solution