Polls Indicate That Most Back Social Security Tax Hike

A recently released survey suggests that, at least where Social
Security is concerned, voters may feel differently: When asked to choose in a
trade-off between lower benefits and higher payroll taxes for themselves, even
self-identified Republicans were more likely to choose the tax. In all, 74
percent of Republicans and 88 percent of Democrats agreed with the statement
that “it is critical to preserve Social Security even if it means increasing
Social Security taxes paid by working Americans.” The survey was commissioned
by the National Academy for Social Insurance, a nonpartisan group of
specialists in entitlement policy who generally agree that Social Security
ought to be fixed, rather than phased out or replaced as some of its critics
advocate. The survey itself – shown in detail here – asked respondents to voice
their preferences about a range of potential options in a hypothetical reform
package, rather than asking general opinions about taxes and government priorities.
The academy says that the survey’s structure is one of its strong points: In a
news release, the group argues that the poll asks voters “to choose a preferred
package of changes, much as lawmakers might do.” In that context, it’s
interesting to see what choices these hypothetical citizen lawmakers made. The
winning package of reform proposals in the survey included: a phase-out, over
10 years, of the cap on earnings that are subject to Social Security taxes
(currently, $113,700 a year); a very gradual increase in the Social Security
payroll tax, by half a percentage point a year, from its current 6.2 percent to
7.2 percent by 2032 and 8.2 percent by 2052; the use of an inflation rate for
cost-of-living raises that better reflects seniors’ costs; and a gradual
increase of the basic minimum Social Security benefit.

Source/more: Wall Street Journal

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