(Bloomberg Opinion) — Within the first few days of 2023, a minimum of 500 US employees will doubtless have already paid their Social Safety taxes for the 12 months.
That’s as a result of in only a day they earn the utmost quantity of revenue topic to Social Safety tax, or $160,200. These are simply executives at public firms the place salaries are disclosed, comparable to Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook dinner, who earned $98 million in 2021, and Intel Corp. CEO Patrick Gelsinger, who took residence greater than $177 million. (Their salaries for 2022 have but to be disclosed, however it’s secure to imagine that after once more they’ll hit the tax cap instantly.) Scores extra executives at non-public firms fall into the identical class.
Right here’s how the system works. To assist pay for Social Safety, a tax of 12.4% is break up between staff and employers; a employee is topic to a 6.2% tax assessed on earnings as much as a certain quantity — $160,200 in 2023. Over the previous 4 a long time, Social Safety’s taxable wage base has shrunk as a result of employees are paid extra in non-taxed advantages, comparable to medical health insurance. As well as, folks incomes excessive wages have acquired greater raises than the backside 95% of earners.
No shock, Social Safety will solely be capable to pay 76% of promised advantages by 2033 if nothing modifications. The payroll tax must improve by 3.47 share factors from the present 12.4% to have the ability to assure promised advantages for the following 75 years.
However elevating the payroll tax price on present employees is near-impossible politically. A better resolution could be to remove the earnings cap whereas leaving advantages as is. The additional income would remedy the monetary hole for 35 years, based on a report by the Congressional Analysis Service.
About 180 million People contributed a complete of $943 billion to Social Safety in 2021. Ending the cap for the 5% of US employees who earn greater than $160,200 would improve income by greater than $150 billion.
Consultant John Larson, a Connecticut Democrat, has supplied a complete plan to avoid wasting Social Safety that may elevate the earnings cap however nonetheless present some aid to employees incomes under $450,000.
For these involved that making any modifications to Social Safety is just too tough, keep in mind, it’s been completed earlier than. In 1994, a bipartisan group of lawmakers eradicated the revenue cap that used to exist for taxes paid by employees to fund Medicare.
Virtually everybody agrees that Social Safety is significant. Practically two-thirds of beneficiaries age 65 and older obtain 50% or extra of their whole revenue from month-to-month Social Safety checks. For one-third of aged beneficiaries, Social Safety gives 90% or extra of their revenue. Research present the vast majority of People need extra income for Social Safety. The quickest method to get it would simply be to ask a minimum of these 500-some-odd well-compensated executives to pay extra.
To contact the writer of this story:
Teresa Ghilarducci at [email protected]