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Author: alstroemeria Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Recommended Fools Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 60210  
Subject: Re: Hocus Foil Wade Pfau in the WSJ Date: 3/9/2013 7:37 AM
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I stand corrected. I overestimated the percentage of Americans making over the SS income cap:

Currently, earned income in excess of $113,700 is entirely exempt from the 6.2 percent payroll tax that funds Social Security benefits (employers pay a matching 6.2 percent). 5.2 percent of working Americans make more than $113,700 a year. Simply by eliminating the payroll tax earnings cap — and thus ending this regressive exemption for the top 5.2 percent of earners — would, according to the Congressional Budget Office, solve the financial crisis facing the Social Security system.

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/06/the-war-on-e...

So in order to max out on Social Security retirement benefits, BOTH members of a couple would've had to work at least 35 years and make over the cap that entire time. Currently only 5.2% of the population even has ONE member of a couple exceeding the cap, and that's just for 2012! Exceeding the income cap every year for 35 years is an extremely rare occurence in the real world for even one member of a couple!

Speaking of the real world, the majority of married couples have the main breadwinners earning far less than the maximum and the spouses earning 50% of that benefit, because they earned less than half on their own work record.

Again, speaking of the real world, the solution to the underfunding of SS is to remove the income cap, not to impoverish middle class seniors. After the Baby Boom bulge passes into that long good night, I imagine the 6.2% SS tax (x2) could be lowered.

There's a lot more good stuff in this blog entry; for example:

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the amount of new revenue required to bring the Social Security trust fund into balance over the next 75 years would amount to 0.6 percent of G.D.P.

And if you read the entire piece, you'll see some graphs, including one showing that even in the 4th income quintile (household retirement income of ~$80-100k), SS on average provides 50% of HH income.
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