There’s a rumor that liberal Democrat enablers want to ask the rich to pay higher premiums for Medicare. That’s only 25 billion more dollars over ten years. Or 2.5 billion dollars a year. That’s something, but nothing compared to the fair share of Social Security FICA taxes which they are not paying. And, secondly, Medicare is already means-tested, even though the rich pay less than one percent of their income on Medicare premiums. They still get one hell of a Medicare insurance return on their investment.
If you want to ask the rich to pay their fair share of our social insurance programs, remove or lift the exclusion cap on the amount of FICA taxes which people pay toward Social Security. You only save 2.5 billion a year if you raise premiums for Medicare using the Center for American Progress plan. But you could close the gap for Social Security if you just remove the cap on FICA.
Most people could get behind that and push that over the ‘finish line’ politically. Polls show that Americans don’t want to cut social spending. They want to find new ways to strengthen social programs. People say to pollsters, over and over again: Keep Social Security and Medicare as they are. We already pay enough toward Medicare. Low-income people should not have their benefits taken away.
So if Democrats want ‘to warm to’ asking rich people to do more, ask them to pay their fair share of Social Security. Remove or raise the FICA cap. But don’t take my word for it. Here is a worksheet from people who really know how removing or raising the cap would strengthen Social Security for the foreseeable future.
Any changes made should not only sound fair, but they should be fair.
Caricature from Donkey Hotey licensed under Creative Commons