Could the Rich Save Social Security?

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A majority of Americans in a new poll think greater contributions from the rich would be a "good idea ... to address concerns with the Social Security system." Specifically, respondents in the USA Today/Gallup poll believe it would be better to require the wealthy "to pay Social Security taxes on ALL of their wages," and to limit "benefits for wealthy retirees."

But would this actually work? 24/7 Wall St.'s Douglas McIntyre explores the question. One problem is that "at some point those with the highest earnings will do the mathematics and determine that if they will get a lower payout from the Social Security fund and will have to pay higher taxes that there is a tipping financial tipping point that may limit what they want to earn." In other words, they will decide to make less money. But there's another, "perhaps more vexing issue," he says: "what all Americans were 'promised' when they paid for their Social Security benefits. A cut in the benefits of people with high income will be challenged  in federal court. The wealthy can afford the legal fees."

Are a majority of poll respondents, then, looking to the wrong solution?

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.