Wednesday, March 23, 2005


We can debate whether this would be the best way to deal with long term funding issues for Social Security -- as long as Republicans are running around calling the trust fund a "myth" it quite clearly isn't. And, in any case, I'd prefer at least a modest increase in the income cap if we're going that way. However, here's the economy-destroying measure which would make the program able to pay fully promised benefits for the next 75 years:

Assuming the Trustees' intermediate assumptions are realized, the deficit of 1.92 percent of payroll indicates that financial adequacy of the program for the next 75 years could be restored if the Social Security payroll tax were immediately and permanently increased from its current level of 12.4 percent (combined employee-employer shares) to 14.32 percent.

As I said, I don't support doing that because a) "pre-funding" is a sucker's game as long as Zombie Greenspan and his Republican Acolytes roam the Earth and b) it makes the tax code more regressive. But, nonetheless it's pretty damn painless.