To the Editor:
Recent news reports herald the impending demise of Medicare and Social Security. The AP reports that “Medicare [is] pointed toward insolvency by 2025” and that “Social Security would become insolvent in 2035.”
I am not an accountant or an economist or a financial expert of any kind, but it seems to me that there is a simple “fix” available for any brave and practical-minded legislator who is willing to show his brass to avoid the devastating consequences of inaction toward this catastrophe.
Currently, if I am so blessed with taxable earnings of up to $132,900 a year, I and my employer each pay 6.2 percent of those earnings to SSA. But if a colleague has a great year earning $200,000 in 2019, he and the employer pay that 6.2 percent on only the salary “cap” of $132,900. That is a tax on 100 percent of my earnings -vs- a tax on but 66 percent of his earnings. While that is what is provided in the current law, it is blatantly unfair on its face. Something about the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer comes to mind. By the same token, either increasing or eliminating that income “cap” would, by most estimates, extend Social Security’s solvency by some 50 years. And such a change would not adversely affect 99 percent of Villagers, few of whom have “taxable” earnings that are subject to such taxes. As for Medicare, the contribution rate currently is 1.45 percent on all taxable earnings. By making that rate apply to all earnings, or by increasing the rate by a modest .55%, which would not even be noticed by most taxpayers, this would maintain and sustain this critically needed program for decades to come.
According to a report in The Villages Daily Sun, some 62 percent of Villagers are recipients of Medicare benefits (the highest of any Metropolitan Statistical Area in the U.S.), and I daresay that an even higher percentage rely on Social Security benefits. I know full well that I paid into these programs throughout my working life. But I also know that I have enjoyed the payouts of these programs far exceeding my modest contributions and am now living on someone else’s dime. I would hope that my kids and grandkids live long enough to enjoy those same benefits. But then, again, it all depends on whether there are any legislators (or a President) in Washington willing to do what is right for the nation rather than for him or her self.
Village of Winifred