Archive for the ‘Social Security’ Category

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 […]

The 16-Percent Solution—Hard on the Rich

The fate of The Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act of 2011 remains uncertain. But thanks to a carefully crafted technical change to the current payroll tax cut, the Senate version prevents a handful of very high wage earners from potentially enjoying a huge windfall from the two-month tax break. The legislation would cut the […]

How a Payroll Tax Cut Boosts the Chances for Tax Reform

When Congress finally extends the payroll tax cut that is due to expire in a few weeks, it may also be taking another step down the road to tax reform—and perhaps even to big Social Security changes as well. Why? Because without fundamental reform, it will be devilishly hard for Congress to ever get rid […]

Obama Had It Right the First Time: Bring Back the Making Work Pay Tax Credit

Last December, Congress replaced the two-year-old Making Work Pay tax credit (MWP) with this year’s payroll tax cut. That change cut taxes for higher-income workers, raised taxes for some low-wage workers, and nearly doubled the amount of lost tax revenue. And it most likely provided less bang-for-the-buck economic stimulus than the credit it replaced. Since […]

Payroll Tax Holiday is not Perfect, but Far Better than Inaction

Congress is now shadow boxing about the payroll tax holiday that is set to expire at the end of this year. Currently, workers are getting a break equal to 2% of earnings up to the Social Security taxable maximum of $106,800. The temporary tax cut was part of a deal struck last year to extend […]

Rick Perry’s Social Security Myth

Texas Governor Rick Perry is being rightly criticized for his loony claims about Social Security in last night’s GOP presidential debate. But what troubles me the most is this whopper: “It is a Ponzi scheme to tell our kids that are 25 or 30 years old today, you’re paying into a program that’s going to […]

Fixing Social Security Isn’t Hard

Social Security has two obvious problems. While the system is not “broke,” as some insist, it will have only enough money to provide future retirees with about three-quarters of their promised benefits.  At the same time, it is poorly designed for the needs of a country where life expectancy and the nature of work and family have […]

Can Tax and Social Security Heresy Lead to a Budget Deal?

Ideological heresy may not quite be breaking out all over Washington, but in the growing debate over the burgeoning debt, there are helpful hints of apostasy. And hope of a bipartisan consensus for responsible deficit reduction may lie atop those tiny waves of dissent. The latest whiff of hopeful heterodoxy comes from three Republican senators– Saxby Chambliss of […]

Pledging Our Way to Fiscal Disaster

Three-quarters of Americans believe that entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security “will create major economic problems” over the next 25 years. But two-thirds are opposed to addressing these challenges by reducing benefits, and 56 percent are against raising taxes. And congressional candidates, who read the polls, are scrambling to pander to the free-lunch […]

Raising the Social Security Retirement Age

If Social Security reform is political dynamite, the battle over whether to raise the retirement age may be the fuse. I got a hint of the passion behind this issue at an Urban Institute panel I moderated yesterday on Capitol Hill.
In recent weeks, both Steny Hoyer (D-MD), who is the number #2 House Democrat, and John Boehner (R-OH), the top House Republican, have put the idea on the table. Ah, you say, there is finally bipartisan support for something in Washington. Not so fast. Both are far out on a legislative limb with little public support from fellow lawmakers.