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Bush wants to privatize Social Security. Why not just lift the FICA cap?

ASK THIS | December 13, 2004

Author William Greider says eliminating the cap is an obvious, fair solution to any long-term problems Social Security may run into. Shouldn't reporters be doing the arithmetic and asking about that?

Q. A question for President Bush, Alan Greenspan, and Democrats and Republicans in Congress: Why not eliminate the $87,000 income cap on FICA taxes?
Q. What argument is being made for maintaining the cap?
Q. How much money would eliminating the cap raise?
Q. From what we can determine now, how does eliminating the cap stack up against privatization?

William Greider, writing in the Nation Magazine's March 4th, 2004, issue, attacked Alan Greenspan for using scare tactics about Social Security in testimony before Congress. Nine months have passed since Greider's article but his arguments are even more relevant now, with Bush having begun his second term by pushing privatization.

"Here is the truth," Greider wrote: "Social Security is not in deficit, not now and not for at least the next forty years. The trust fund will have a surplus next year of $1.8 trillion. In 2011 when, Greenspan warns, the baby boomers will start retiring in large numbers, the surplus will be $3.2 trillion. These stored savings, plus future payroll-tax revenue, are sufficient to pay all retirees the current level of benefits through 2042, according to the fund's very conservative actuaries."

Greider proposed what he termed a "simple and just way" to deal with Social Security's fiscal problems after 2042: "Eliminate the income cap of $87,000 on FICA taxes so that every highly paid worker, even Bill Gates, would pay the full freight. Since wealthy earners have benefited disproportionately from tax reduction, this would be their personal contribution to restoring fiscal order. Why doesn't someone ask the Fed chairman about that? If Democrats were more attentive to their constituencies, they would be aggressively promoting this reasonable alternative to Greenspan's sordid double talk."

For Greider's full article, click here.

"If Bush wants to give young workers' a choice"
Posted by robert smith - frightened student/family man who has a thousand questions for the imperialist leader, george w. bush
03/28/2005, 11:22 AM

Here is a radical idea. So Bush wants to turn this society into an "ownership" society. Since that obviously means that everyone will be on there own,Here is my plan. Bush wants to give young workers a "choice" as to where their S.S. money goes. As it stands right now, S.S. is an involuntary tax. Bush wants you to have the choice of it going into S.S. or diverting it to unscrupulous brokers on Wall St. How about a third choice. How about an option of keeping the money yourself and neither gets there grubby hands on my money? Ever heard that option ever talked about? Here are these rich corporate-fascist warmongers debating over what is best for my money. If bush is a true conservative, he would allow people to exercise this option. Since he is actually the most LIBERAL President that this country has ever seen, it wouldn't surprise me if he just does away with S.S. and replaces it with Wall ST investments. I guess it would be OK, as long as I can invest all my money in Halliburton. "the OWNERSHIP SOCIETY"...what an "Orwellian Double-Speaking Joke"...The only problem is I'm not laughing...But they are, ...all thge way to the bank.

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