Archive for the ‘Social Security’ Category

Analyzing Taxes and Transfers Together

Government redistributes income through tax and spending programs. Nearly everyone pays some tax – be it federal or state income taxes, payroll taxes, or sales taxes. The tax system also affects people by delivering a host of benefits through tax expenditures (subsidies like the mortgage interest deduction or the child tax credit).   And broad spending […]

Eight in Ten U.S. Households Pay Social Security and Medicare Taxes

While relatively few low-income people pay federal income tax, a large and growing share owe Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes, according to new estimates by the Tax Policy Center. As a result, while about 43 percent of all households will pay no federal income tax this year, only 14 percent will pay neither income […]

How To Fix Social Security Disability Insurance

Social Security Disability Insurance has often been forgotten in the debate over the broader Social Security program. But Congress is beginning to pay attention, perhaps because the program is due to become insolvent by 2016. The program needs to be fixed. The question is, as always, how. There are some interesting solutions—many aimed at keeping […]

The “Other” Social Security Issue: Disability Insurance

Since the George W. Bush Administration, Social Security reform has been atop the federal government’s list of top policy challenges. But when people talk about Social Security, they usually have in mind the Old Age and Survivors piece of the program. There is another critical element, however–Social Security Disability Insurance. And SSDI is suddenly getting lots […]

An Opportunity to Really Fix Social Security

The White House has put out the word that President Obama’s budget will propose changing the way government adjusts benefits for Social Security and other programs (as well as the income tax). Liberal Social Security advocates are furious. By shifting to a measure called the chained Consumer Price Index, the retirement system would boost benefits […]

What Adjusting the Price Index Would Mean for Taxpayers

President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner may be close to agreeing on a plan that, among other things, would revise the way government programs are adjusted for inflation. Most attention is focused on what this means for Social Security recipients. But the Tax Policy Center estimates that changing the cost-of-living measure would also result […]

How to Control Entitlements: A Challenge Ike Did Not Face

Yesterday, I described President Eisenhower’s remarkable success in turning  a large deficit in fiscal 1959 into a balanced budget in 1960.  It was one of the biggest fiscal consolidations since World War II.  Although it was a very different time, there are lessons relevant to today’s fiscal challenges.  One is that a president need not […]

Social Security & Medicare Lifetime Benefits

How much will you pay in Social Security and Medicare taxes over your lifetime? And how much can you expect to get back in benefits? It depends on whether you’re married, when you retire, and how much you’ve earned over a lifetime. I recently published with Caleb Quakenbush “Social Security and Medicare Taxes and Benefits […]

Payroll Taxes Cover About a Third of Medicare Costs

I get the impression that many Americans believe Medicare is financed like Social Security. They know that a portion of payroll taxes goes to Social Security and a portion goes to Medicare. So they conclude workers are paying for Medicare benefits the same way they are paying for Social Security benefits. That isn’t remotely true, […]

Time to End Washington’s Trust Fund Gimmicks

Why do we bother with government trust funds? As the Senate’s just-passed highway bill proved yet again, Congress is turning these funds into little more than accounting shams. In theory, it makes sense to establish special accounts where designated revenues are set aside for a specific purpose. But in practice, Washington is grossly abusing the […]