Opinion | Social Security is not in trouble. Really.

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Kathryn Rampel wrote in her opinion column on Wednesday, November 22, “Why should we borrow to support the elderly while neglecting everything else?” Social Security is a major driver of our growing national debt, while programs for the elderly are “taking up an ever-increasing share of our future spending obligations. Conversely, Social Security cannot add a cent to the national debt because borrowing is prohibited. Although there is a long-term funding problem, it will only increase the amount of income that will be reduced by social security taxes. Keep it liquid until 2046..

Social Security is popular among all age groups with about 1 million withdrawals. Children are out of poverty. How much of these “non-sustainable benefits” does the typical retiree receive? As of December 31, 2021, the average Social Security payment for men was $1,838.08 per month and $1,483.75 per month for women, minus $175 in Medicare payments. It’s not clear how much “gut” a typical retiree can afford on a monthly income of $1,283.

So how is this country able to provide social programs for the elderly, children and all of its citizens? Statistics on wealth inequality make the solution abundantly clear: tax the rich. of More than 700 billionaires In the United States, more than half of American households have more wealth ($4.5 trillion) – approximately 165 million Americans. The 400 richest billionaires in the United States Pay a tax rate of 8.2 percent.Much less than The average tax rate is about 13 percent. Paid large corporations Zero federal taxes in 2020Despite the high profits.

Certainly, if the wealthiest Americans and corporations paid their fair share in taxes, we could pay for many of the social programs that other developed countries have implemented over the years.

Rebecca Harmon, Arlington

Social Security does not lend money. Employees’ payroll taxes go into a separate trust fund that earns interest and funds other federal spending — just like any other government bondholder. Trust funds currently total $2.8 trillion.

Although the trust fund is projected to dwindle in 2034, Congress could close the gap by adjusting the cap on payroll contributions so the wealthy begin paying their fair share.

Ms. Rampel sets up a false choice between the benefits to the elderly and the costs to young Americans. She reinforced the narrative that Social Security is somehow a bad deal for young people, even though it provides spouses and children of young adults — and retirement benefits in old age.

Ms. Rampel called seniors who collect Social Security “lucky individuals.” In fact, 4 out of 10 retirees rely on minimum Social Security benefits for at least 50 percent of their income. Without Social Security, 40 percent of the elderly would fall into poverty. I bet a few young people – including those old kids and grandkids – would like to see that.

The author is president and CEO of the National Committee to Protect Social Security and Medicare.

30 years ago when my children were still young, we needed preschool, childcare and parental leave. Adding them to the Social Security conversation is unnecessarily stimulating.

Since 2007 – 16 years ago – no one has been able to retire at age 65 with full Social Security benefits. Ms Rampel uses the example of people retiring at age 65 in 2020. People born in 1955 must work. Age 66 and two months.

Social Security should calculate individual payments based on contributions, but to balance the system we need to consider all contributions and all payments. Take the contributions made by everyone born in 1950 and subtract the benefits paid or scheduled for anyone born in 1950. Such an approach shows that our elderly comrades are much closer to breaking down than most people think.

This is a complex and important issue that requires detailed, accurate analysis. Congress helped create the situation by leaving the income tax too low for too long. The increase in the limit next year is progress, but I still wonder why anyone making hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars would pay Social Security taxes. The first $168,600.

Glen Kerr, Davidsonville

Congress has fought several times over the federal debt limit, including twice this year. The issues are complex, but, simply put, the federal government spends more than it brings in.

When it comes to the federal budget deficit, Medicare is the elephant in the room. By 2022, it will be 43 percent. Funding comes from the general budget. The rest comes from payroll taxes and premiums.

Have you ever wondered who doesn’t pay their fair share of taxes and the IRS wants to visit if they have an employee and financial support? I’m not, and you’re not if you’re not on the UltraTrac income team. We only pay taxes on our income reported to the IRS. Sometimes it hurts, but we pay and enjoy the benefits of our country. The ultrarich, who are in the stratosphere of income, make their own rules (or, usually, the rules of their accountants and lawyers).

According to a US Treasury study, by 2022 at least a 600 billion dollars is the difference between the tax owed and the tax paid. Catching up on these unpaid taxes will go a long way towards solving the budget deficit.

Planting a mark, Charlottesville

The writer is a former economist at the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis.

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