The "Easy" Social Security Fix

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McArdle pounces:

This is coming up over and over again--an "easy" fix for Social Security wherein "all" we have to do is get rid of the cap on Social Security payroll taxes, without increasing benefits.  Dylan Matthews has the charts that are currently making the rounds, which show that this [simple] solution not only eliminates the Social Security shortfall, but also generates a substantial surplus!

This is not actually surprising, since what this amounts to is hiking the marginal tax rates on high incomes by 15 percentage points--making the federal tax take on the highest incomes 55% in 2012, assuming that Obama and Congress follows through and allows the Bush tax cuts to expire in 2011. This is obviously a gigantic hike, and moreover, when Medicare, state, and local taxes are added in, would push the tax burden on the highest incomes to over 2/3 in the highest tax jurisdictions. Whatever you think of this plan, this is not an easy solution.

Well it is not pain-free, as I conceded. But it is easy and elegantly simple. And if you are going to raise taxes, as we must, there's no way for them not to target the wealthy. That's almost only where the money now is.

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