The easy fix for Social Security: Raise the FICA tax cap

October 04, 2011

Your article on how to shore up Social Security was intriguing. You are quite correct in stating that the program, while it will require to be adjusted at some time in the future, is certainly no Ponzi scheme and that it will continue to operate in a secure fashion for at least another generation.

It can be fixed by a rather simple device of imposing a uniform FICA tax rate on all payers. The current FICA tax is a regressive tax on income (with no standard deduction or personal exemption deduction) and is imposed (for the years 2009 and 2010) only on the first $106,800 of gross wages. The tax is not imposed on investment income (such as interest and dividends) or on wage income over $106,800.

I always considered this tax to be grossly regressive and another example of preferential treatment for the wealthy. The most obvious solution, one that would make the tax more fair and raise much needed revenue, is to increase or abolish the cap on contributions. Raising the eligibility age may also be necessary, but that would impose a real burden on firemen, policemen, construction workers and others who are required to have physical prowess in their professions.

Jack Kinstlinger, Baltimore

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