Manual Social Insurance and Social Justice: Social Security, Medicare and the Campaign Against Entitlements

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Contents:
  1. Social Security and Income Maintenance for People with Disabilities
  2. Social Security, Medicare and the Campaign Against Entitlements
  3. Faculty Experts
  4. Search form

Lambrew 1 June Stevens 31 January Gustman , Thomas L.

YOUR ENTITLEMENTS? Social Security, Medicare and Pensions...I Don’t Think So!

Steinmeier , et al. Medicare by Jennie Jacobs Kronenfeld 1 December Only 1 left in stock more on the way.

Social Security and Income Maintenance for People with Disabilities

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Prime members enjoy FREE Delivery on millions of eligible domestic and international items, in addition to exclusive access to movies, TV shows, and more. Back to top. Get to Know Us. They will show President Trump did nothing wrong. Trump and his allies including Giulani often cite a Justice Department policy on the issue.

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Leave a respectful comment. Close Comment Window. Leave a comment. There is precedent for either approach. Policymakers have raised the Social Security payroll tax cap many times, and they eliminated the Medicare payroll tax cap in Two prominent deficit-reduction committees have proposed raising the tax cap so that it covers 90 percent of all earnings and then pegging it to that level in the future.

Changes to the tax cap would affect only the highest-earning workers. Over a lifetime, 20 percent of workers earn more than the tax cap for at least one year. Most of these workers have high lifetime earnings and thus also receive relatively high Social Security benefits. Raising the payroll tax cap to fund Social Security benefits is broadly popular, even among the highest earners — about half of millionaires support raising the cap.

Raising or eliminating the tax cap would make Social Security more progressive.

In either case, higher earners would pay more. For most workers, the cap does not affect their taxes, because they earn less than the cap; for high earners, taxes would be quite different depending on whether the cap were raised or eliminated, as Figure 5 shows. If there were no cap, taxes would rise most for the very highest earners, in the top 1 percent and especially the top 0. If the cap were increased to cover 90 percent of aggregate earnings, tax increases would be highest as a percentage of earnings for the top 5 percent of earners and less for the very highest earners, because their contributions would still be capped.

Raising the tax cap could affect Social Security benefits as well, as policymakers would face a choice about how to account for any newly taxed earnings — specifically, whether and how to include them as part of the average indexed monthly earnings, or AIME, used to calculate benefits.

There are three options here:. Most beneficiaries would not be affected by increases in the tax cap, because they earn less than the cap.

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Social Security, Medicare and the Campaign Against Entitlements

For those who are affected, both the cap level and the replacement rate matter, as Figure 6 shows. For example, if the cap were increased with a 5 percent replacement rate, benefits would rise no more than 10 percent, even for the highest earners; with a 15 percent replacement rate, benefits would rise by about 25 percent for the top 1 percent. Eliminating the cap could mean even larger benefit increases, particularly for the very highest earners.


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For example, eliminating the cap with a 5 percent replacement rate would more than double benefits for the top 0. There is precedent for expanding taxable wages for Social Security. About half of Americans receive health care coverage through their employers. Since , employees have also been able to shelter their share of premiums from taxes if they are offered as part of a cafeteria plan — as the vast majority are. Social Security benefits are intended to replace lost wages when workers retire, die, or become disabled, but employer-sponsored health insurance premiums differ from ordinary wages.

For example, contributions to other fringe benefits, like k s and FSAs, would otherwise be paid as cash wages. But employees can decline employer-sponsored health insurance without necessarily getting a higher paycheck — and many do, especially when one spouse pays for coverage for the whole family.

Faculty Experts

Excluding employer-sponsored health insurance premiums from taxes disproportionately benefits high earners. Higher-income families are more likely to get health coverage at work, and their premiums are significantly higher on average. The value of the tax subsidy has risen over time, especially for high-income families.

Counting employer-sponsored health insurance premiums as taxable wages for Social Security purposes would increase both Social Security payroll taxes and benefits for most workers. The tax and benefit increases would be smallest for the highest earners and largest for lower and middle earners.

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Because this option — unlike tax cap changes — would increase benefits for lower earners, it would lower the poverty rate among elderly Social Security beneficiaries, by about 15 percent. Using these plans, workers direct a portion of their pre-tax compensation to pay for fringe benefits such as flexible spending accounts for health and child care expenses, commuting costs, and life insurance. Cafeteria plans were established in , and were rarely offered when Congress last addressed Social Security solvency in They have since become common; for example, 40 percent of workers have access to a health care flexible spending account.

Because they are not subject to payroll taxes, the wages workers use to fund such accounts do not count toward their Social Security benefits.