Washington Free Press  Washington State's Independent Journal of News, Ideas & Culture
home |  subscribe/donate |  article archive |  issue archive |  organization |  volunteer/submit |  activism calendar |  contact us
CLIMATE      SPORTS      SUBSTANCES      RIGHT BRAIN      MEDIA      TRUTH      LIES      MILITARY      HEALTH      BUSINESS      POETRY      TRANSPORTATION      IMMIGRATION      WORKPLACE      ELECTIONS      WORLD      TECHNOLOGY      POLITICS      ENERGY      EDUCATION      AROUND WASHINGTON      ENVIRONMENT      CULTURE      WAR      ECONOMY      HISTORY      RIGHTS      LAW      ACTIVISM      MEDICINE      MARIJUANA      SEATTLE      CARTOONS      WASHINGTON      VACCINES      TACOMA      GENETIC ENGINEERING      CORPORATIONS      FLUORIDATION      WIRELESS RADIATION      MINOR PARTIES      SPOKANE      CLIMATE      SPORTS      SUBSTANCES      RIGHT BRAIN      MEDIA      TRUTH      LIES      MILITARY      HEALTH      BUSINESS      POETRY      TRANSPORTATION      IMMIGRATION      WORKPLACE      ELECTIONS      WORLD      TECHNOLOGY      POLITICS      ENERGY      EDUCATION      AROUND WASHINGTON      ENVIRONMENT      CULTURE      WAR      ECONOMY      HISTORY      RIGHTS      LAW      ACTIVISM      MEDICINE      MARIJUANA      SEATTLE      CARTOONS      WASHINGTON      VACCINES      TACOMA      GENETIC ENGINEERING      CORPORATIONS      FLUORIDATION      WIRELESS RADIATION      MINOR PARTIES      SPOKANE     
search WFP via Google
PEACE & JUSTICE CALENDAR
compiled by
Jean Buskin

November
December
January
All Months


Cartoons of
Dan McConnell

featuring
Tiny the Worm


Cartoons of
David Logan

The People's Comic


Cartoons of
John Jonik

Inking Truth to Power

Latest Posts
click topics to search past content

MILITARY

Former US Attorney General Testifies for Plowshares Activists Ramsey Clark supports WA anti-nuke movement Ground Zero Center (Nov 28, 2010)

HEALTH

Hunger Up 36% in Washington State from Children's Alliance, cartoon by John Ambrosavage (Nov 28, 2010)

POLITICS

The Progressive Tea Party? Maybe when it comes to surveillance issues Doug Collins, cartoon by Dan McConnell (Nov 28, 2010)
Obama Wooing 'Economic Royalists' FDR was way gutsier Norman Solomon, cartoon by David Logan (Nov 28, 2010)

SUBSTANCES

The Dirty Secret Behind 'Demon Tobacco' Regulation doesn't cover cigarette additives Doug Collins, cartoons by John Jonik (Nov 28, 2010)

EDUCATION

America’s Education Gender Gap Bill Costello, cartoon by John Ambrosavage (Nov 28, 2010)

ELECTIONS

Washington State Votes Against Change Janice Van Cleve, cartoon by Dan McConnell (Nov 28, 2010)

FOLLOW FILE updates

DeCourseys v. Real Estate Giant; Amazon Prevails in Customer Privacy Doug Collins, cartoon by John Ambrosavage (Nov 28, 2010)

ENVIRONMENT

Poll: Southwest WA Supports Conservation Climate Solutions, cartoon by John Jonik (Nov 28, 2010)

CULTURE

What Color Is Your Santa? holiday cartoons by John Ambrosavage (Nov 28, 2010)

MEDICINE

WA Doctors Tell McKenna: Put Patients Before Politics Doctors for America (Oct 25, 2010)

ACTIVISM

No, Higher Consciousness Won’t Save Us Charles Reich got his second book right Norman Solomon (Oct 23, 2010)

LAW

Modern-Day Debtors’ Prisons in WA ACLU of WA, with cartoon by John Jonik (Oct 23, 2010)

RIGHTS

Report: Racial Profiling Pervasive Across America OneAmerica (Oct 23, 2010)

WORLD

Port Townsend Food Co-op Rejects Israel Boycott Jefferson County BDS, cartoon by George Jartos (Oct 23, 2010)

HISTORY

A Bellhop in the Swingin' Seventies Overly detailed resume plus cartoon by John Ambrosavage (Oct 20, 2010)
Johnny Horizon's Draft Physical Can he avoid Vietnam? John Merriam (Oct 20, 2010)

AROUND WASHINGTON

Gregoire passes the hatchet; Bears love garbage; Where does the PUD travel to? featuring cartoons by Dan McConnell (Oct 20, 2010)

ECONOMY

Now's the Time to Expand Social Security Good for both Americans and American companies Steven Hill (Sept 9, 2010)

WAR

Obama's Speech for Endless War Normon Solomon, cartoon by Dan McConnell (Sept 9, 2010)

ENERGY

Yellowstone: The #1 National Security Threat Unless we turn Wyoming into a new energy Mecca Martin Nix (Sept 9, 2010)

TECHNOLOGY

Biodefense, Biolabs and Bugs Seattle City Council takes an important first step to safety Labwatch.org (Aug 9, 2010)

WORKPLACE

Teenage Microsoft Sweatshop 15-hour shifts under poor conditions at Chinese factory from the National Labor Committee (May 16, 2010)

IMMIGRATION

Why US Immigration Policy Needs Tweaking Bill Costello, cartoon by David Logan (May 16, 2010)
Arizona Immigration Brouhaha Various opinions from near and far, cartoons by Logan and McConnell (May 2, 2010)

TRANSPORTATION

The Coming Microcar Revolution Martin Nix (May 16, 2010)

POETRY

A Poetic Look at Tacoma Glass Art Museum; a limer-ICK Gerald McBreen (Mar 28, 2010)
Fall Is For Falling Out Of Love, etc. three poems Bob Markey (Mar 29, 2010)

BUSINESS

Who Rules America? Corporate conglomeration is leading to neofeudalism Don Monkerud, cartoon by John Jonik (Mar 27, 2010)

TRUTH

Architects and Engineers Ask for New Look at 9/11 Doug Collins (Feb 20, 2010)

MEDIA

Is Olympic Coverage Sexist? Media coverage rarely gives women equal treatment Univ. of Alberta (Jan 24, 2010)

RIGHT BRAIN

Why I Don't Come at Christmas Anymore not-so-jolly Saint Nick (Dec 18, 2009) Santa Gets Political art by Ambrosavage, Lande, and Dees (Dec 17, 2009)

SPORTS

A People's History of Sports BOOK REVIEW Doreen McGrath (posted July 24, 2009)

CLIMATE

Cashing In On Earth's Cycles: Part 3 Alan Cheetham & Richard Kirby (posted July 24, 2009)
Obama: How Serious About Climate Change? Doug Collins (posted July 24, 2009)


What is the Washington Free Press?

The Washington Free Press exists to carry under-reported news and thought-provoking opinion out to a wider audience. We specialize in news related to Washington State. In order to get the news out, we need your readership and support for basic costs. That's why we ask you to please subscribe and/or donate. If you would like to help us with writing, editing, or "scouting" for writers and articles, please contact us.

Doug Collins, editor

Support the WA Free Press. Community journalism needs your readership and support. Please subscribe and/or donate.


article below posted September 9, 2010    Bookmark and Share
Now's the Time to Expand Social Security

A doubling of payouts would make Americans more secure and American companies more competitive

by Steven Hill

For millions of Americans, the dream of a secure retirement has been threatened by the Great Recession. Since WWII, retirement has been conceived as a "three-legged stool," with the three legs being Social Security, pensions, and personal savings centered around homeownership.

But today most private sector employers have quit providing pensions, and state and local government public pensions are drastically underfunded. In addition, a collapsed housing and stock market, combined with increased inequality even before the Great Recession, have drastically reduced Americans’ personal savings.

In short, the "retirement stool" no longer is stable and secure, and suddenly Social Security, which always has been viewed as a supplement to private savings, is the only leg left for hundreds of millions of Americans. Studies show that people in the bottom two income quartiles depend on Social Security for 84 percent of their retirement income, and even the second richest quartile depend on Social Security for 55 percent of their retirement income. Only the richest 25% of Americans don't rely on Social Security.

Despite Social Security's new role as a de facto national retirement plan, many budget deficit hawks are calling for cuts to it to decrease America's indebtedness. But that would only make things worse for retiring Americans. The real problem with Social Security is that it is not robust enough to play this role as retirement security of last resort, though not for the reasons most critics say. Contrary to gloomy predictions about its future collapse, the program is on solid footing, with the Congressional Budget Office projecting that Social Security can pay all scheduled benefits out of its own tax revenue stream for the next 40 years.

The bigger problem is that its payout is so meager. Currently it replaces only about 33 to 40 percent of a worker’s average wage from the year prior to retirement. That is simply not enough money to live on when it is your primary—perhaps your only—source of retirement income.


Instead of cutting back Social Security, what we need to do is expand it by doubling the individual payout. That would cost about $650 billion annually for the 51 million Americans who receive benefits. This expanded version—call it Social Security Plus—could be paid for with revenues identified in a new study published by the New America Foundation. Here’s how.

First, lift Social Security's payroll cap that disproportionately favors the wealthy. Currently Social Security only taxes wages up to $106,800 a year, and any income earned above that is not taxed. The net result is that poor, middle class, and even moderately upper middle class Americans are taxed 12.4 percent (split between employee and employer) on 100 percent of their income, but the wealthiest Americans pay a much lower percentage. A lawyer making $500,000 a year effectively pays only 2.5 percent, and millionaire bankers pay a paltry 1.2 percent.

Removing the income cap and making all income levels pay the same percentage—which is how Medicare works—would be a popular reform. Polls show most Americans think that if they pay Social Security tax on their full salary, others should too. Taxing all income brackets equally would raise about $377 billion, which is nearly sixty percent of the revenue needed to double the payout.

Second, with all Americans receiving Social Security Plus, employers would be freed from providing retirement for their employees. So they no longer would need to receive the substantial federal deductions they currently accrue for providing employees’ retirement plans. These deductions total an estimated $126 billion annually.

Third, we could reduce or eliminate other unfair deductions in the tax code that allow higher income people to reap generous deductions that low and moderate income Americans can’t enjoy. These include deductions for private retirement savings, homeownership, health care and education. For example, individuals who have enough income to divert for savings or investment are allowed considerable tax deductions for their 401(k)s, IRAs and pensions. Similarly the homeownership deduction for mortgage interest only benefits people with sufficient income to buy a home. But the poor and working class rarely can take advantage of these since they don’t make enough to itemize deductions. Consequently, the majority of these benefits go to the top 20 percent of income earners. In 2010 the mortgage interest deduction alone will amount to about $108 billion.

These three revenue streams—lifting the payroll cap, eliminating the employer tax deduction for providing retirement, and capping or eliminating various wealth deductions—would raise 100 percent of the revenue needed for doubling the payout of Social Security Plus. It could be implemented in stages, targeting first those who are most in need.

An expansion of Social Security—one of the most successful, stable and popular programs in US history and currently celebrating its 75th year—not only would be good for retirees but also for the macro-economy. It would keep money in retirees’ pockets and stimulate consumer demand, act as an “automatic stabilizer” during economic downturns, and make retiree benefits portable when changing from one job to another. It also would help American businesses trying to compete with foreign companies that don’t provide pensions to their employees, since those countries already have generous national retirement plans. And it would be broadly fair, since even those higher-income Americans who are losing their tax deductions would see part of it returned to them in the form of a greater Social Security payout.

In short, Social Security Plus would provide a stable, secure retirement for every American and contribute greatly toward a solid foundation from which to build a strong and vibrant 21st century economy.


Steven Hill (www.Steven-Hill.com) is a political writer and researcher whose most recent book is "Europe's Promise: Why the European Way is the Best Hope in an Insecure Age" (www.EuropesPromise.org).


Bookmark and Share

Comments (11)

Please keep comments polite and related to the above page.



#1 - Todd Anderson - 09/10/2010 - 00:03
Fascinating. I never expected to read something like this. Almost makes me think it could be done. There's so much anti-tax sentiment esp with a slow economy, but when you make the case that businesses would be freed up from pensions, that changes the perspective on the economic impact.

#2 - Adam Freund - 10/09/2010 - 01:36
One thing the author must consider is that behavior is not static and tax rate changes have effects. In a nutshell, if I raise taxes (even on the wealthy), the wealthy will produce less. The analysis must be dynamic and not assume that behavior remains constant regardless of taxes (incentives).

#3 - Rileigh - 01/08/2012 - 13:18
Hey, that's a clever way of tnikhing about it.

#4 - prlzqiqwn - 01/12/2012 - 06:09
pzi4ZT ueuupuhxtqbb

#5 - サマンサタバサ バッグ - 11/25/2013 - 04:33
Asking questions are genuinely nice thing if you are not understanding anything totally, except this article provides good understanding yet.|
サマンサタバサ バッグ http://www.quizverse.com/サマンサベガ-財布-c-7_9.html

#6 - Kyle P. - 04/01/2014 - 20:39
I would rather have a cash me out now option. The federal governments ineptitude has been on display for many a year. Allow the individual to manage his or her own retirement. If I want someone to manage my retirement allow me to hire them. We do not need another reason to increase the size of an already inefficient government office.

#7 - custom italy soccer jerseys - 10/30/2014 - 07:04
I do enjoy the manner in which you have framed this difficulty and it does indeed give me some fodder for thought. Nevertheless, through everything that I have seen, I simply just trust as the actual responses stack on that individuals stay on issue and in no way embark on a soap box associated with some other news of the day. All the same, thank you for this superb point and whilst I can not really concur with the idea in totality, I regard your viewpoint.
custom italy soccer jerseys http://www.irpiniacomputer.it/public/image/cheap-nfl-jerseys-06/4@8custom-italy-soccer-jerseys63qh.asp

#8 - cheap new style beats by dre solo s450 zsebl锟斤拷mpa uk sale - 10/30/2014 - 07:08
Sick and tired of the handbags reports? I am at this website just for you!!
cheap new style beats by dre solo s450 zsebl锟斤拷mpa uk sale http://www.lpi-global-skills.org.uk/includes/beats-by-dre-solo-vs-solo-hd/beats-by-dre-solo-s450-zsebl锟斤拷mpa-p-3772.html

#9 - find the top sale beats by dre studio argos for sale - 10/30/2014 - 07:08
To Folks Who Would Like To learn earphone But Struggles to Get Going
find the top sale beats by dre studio argos for sale http://redapplehomes.com/HTML/beats-by-dre-studio-argos/

#10 - black uggs mens - 10/30/2014 - 07:14
Hey just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The words in your content seem to be running off the screen in Ie. I'm not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to do with internet browser compatibility but I figured I'd post to let you know. The style and design look great though! Hope you get the problem solved soon. Thanks
black uggs mens http://www.a2zlasers.com/gallery/index.asp?shop=black-uggs-mens&id=16369

#11 - ugg josette 1003174 boots purple - 10/30/2014 - 07:24
Hey there! I know this is kind of off-topic but I had to ask. Does operating a well-established blog like yours take a lot of work? I am brand new to running a blog but I do write in my journal on a daily basis. I'd like to start a blog so I can easily share my experience and views online. Please let me know if you have any kind of suggestions or tips for brand new aspiring bloggers. Appreciate it!
ugg josette 1003174 boots purple http://www.abvmcentereach.com/css/index.asp?shop=ugg-josette-1003174-boots-purple&id=10134

Name
E-mail (Will not appear online)
Comment
This comment form is powered by GentleSource Comment Script. It can be included in PHP or HTML files and allows visitors to leave comments on the website.