Tax the Well-to-Do More for Social Security, Many Older Americans Say

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There's a lot of support to raise the cap on how much income can be taxed for Social Security. What do you think?

Among Americans age 50 or older, 61 percent support raising the cap on income subject to Social Security tax, an Associated Press survey finds.

“Among Democrats, support was at 73 percent; among Republicans, it was 45 percent,” the AP says. The survey included more than 1,000 people.

The cap is currently $113,700, and will be $117,000 for 2014, the Social Security Administration says. Individuals who make more than that don’t pay Social Security taxes on the excess. If the cap were raised, higher earners would contribute more to the program — but it wouldn’t change what we five-figure earners contribute because it’s not changing the tax rate.

The survey documented other opinions about Social Security, including:

  • 62 percent of respondents oppose changes to the way benefits are calculated if the change would result in lower increases, as a proposal to switch to using a “chained” consumer price index would do. Just 21 percent support it.
  • “58 percent oppose gradually raising the age when retirees qualify for full benefits, while 29 percent support it.”
  • About one-third believe the age for full retirement benefits should be lower than 65, while 10 percent say it should be higher than 67.
  • 41 percent support reducing benefits for high-income seniors, while 44 percent oppose the idea.

It seems likely that some kind of change is coming. AP says:

Changes to Social Security are on the horizon because the trust funds that support the massive retirement and disability program are projected to run dry in 2033. At that point, Social Security would only collect enough taxes to pay about three-fourths of benefits. If Congress doesn’t act, benefits automatically would be cut by about 25 percent.

What do you think is the fairest solution to increase funding for Social Security? Comment below or on our Facebook page.

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