Menu Bar

Democratic Voices

April, 2002:

Social Security Reform

It is time to totally reform the Social Security Tax system in the United States. Under the current system, Social Security will go broke because the wealthy pay a much smaller percentage of their income in Social Security and other payroll taxes than do poor or middle class working Americans.

Social Security is designed to hit working Americans with a much higher tax burden in percentage terms than wealthy Americans. There is an absolute ceiling on the amount of income that is subject to Social Security Tax of $72,000 (seventy-two thousand dollars) a year.

A truck driver or real estate agent who earns $72,000 a year pays exactly the same amount of Social Security Tax as Bill Gates, Ken Lay, Dick Cheney or any other multi-millionaire! An average American pays over 13% of their income in Social Security and Medicare taxes. A person making a million dollars a year pays around 1%. A person making 100 million dollars a year pays 1/100th of 1% of their total income in Social Security and other payroll taxes.

The Income Tax cuts passed in the early days of the Bush Administration did nothing to address this unfair tax situation. In fact, the tax scheme imposed on America by the Bush White House and Republicans in Congress shifted the total tax burden toward the middle classes. In percentage terms, over 40% of the Bush tax cut go to the wealthiest 1% of Americans who did not need any tax relief.

Income taxes on the top income bracket were 91% when JFK cut them in the early 1960’s. They were under 40% when Bush cut them in 2001. Social Security and Medicare tax rates increased during this same time span. The effect of this tax policy of soaking the poor and middle class is that the wealthiest 1% of Americans now owns more wealth than the bottom 95% combined. This certainly looks like the Republicans have engaged in class warfare and won. The wealthy in America are no longer paying their fair share of the tax burden, thanks to the Republican Party. Those Americans making less than $72,000 a year is paying far too much of the tax burden.

The Bush Administration is fighting to cut taxes for the wealthy even more. America needs to eliminate the ceiling on Social Security Taxes instead and cut the rate we all pay dramatically. We might be able to extend the solvency of the Social Security system for generations while cutting the total amount of payroll taxes paid by the overwhelming majority of American citizens.

Republicans have been trying to destroy Social Security for generations. Republicans fought FDR over the adoption of the Social Security system. Modern Republicans have been trying to de-fund the Social Security system using two mechanisms. They want to bleed Social Security by using these tax revenues for risky Stock Market speculation. They also cut income taxes to the wealthy so the federal government would be forced to use Social Security tax money to keep the federal budget out of the red.

The Stock Market Speculation scheme has not been successful. Enron, K-Mart and the Dot COM Bust have demonstrated clearly that investing Social Security tax money in the Stock Market is simply foolish.

However, the Bush-Enron Republicans have been very successful at picking the Lock Box of the Social Security Fund. Your current weekly Social Security taxes are flying out of the U.S. Treasury as fast as they come into the U.S. Treasury. They are being spent on huge income tax refund checks to the wealthiest Americans who do not need these checks.

Fiscal conservatism was once the strongest element of Republican ideology. It has been replaced by the “raid the Treasury” mentality of the Bush-Enron Republicans. Fiscal conservatism has been abandoned by the Bush-Enron Republicans for selfish political reasons.

These huge income tax cuts have filled the campaign coffers of the Bush-Enron Republicans. These Bush-Enron Republicans have abandoned fiscal conservatism in their lust for political power and financial self-interest. David Brock very well documents this abandonment of principle for power in his new book, Blinded By The Right. The vast Right Wing conspiracy is real. The Bush Administration is indirectly funding it with huge tax breaks for the wealthy.

National interests are being ignored in the Republican quest for political power. It is little wonder that Americans see decay and corruption in almost everything the Bush Administration does in the way of policy and appointments.

The Bush-Enron Republicans have embraced a Right Wing Judicial Activism to seize and maintain political power. We can expect Bush to undermine Constitutional principles like Separation of Powers to hide his unpopular actions.

Opposition to Campaign Finance Reform helps the Bush-Enron Republicans push forward their soak the middle class and poor tax schemes. With the income taxes on the wealthiest 1% of Americans at historic lows, they can afford to pay Social Security payroll taxes on all their income like the rest of us. We need to cut the Social Security and Medicare taxes to well under 10% now and tax the full income of the wealthy.

It is time to have a truly fair and balanced federal tax system. We need to stop raiding the Social Security fund to pay for tax cuts for the wealthiest among us. We need a balanced budget. We need to pay off the national debt. We need to retire the Radical Right Wing Republicans who are messing up our national finances and economy.

The recklessness of the Bush-Cheney White House and their lackeys in Congress are undoing all the progress made by the Clinton-Gore Administration. How much damage will Bush do before President Gore takes control of the White House in 2004? Will Bush destroy Social Security before 2004? Are there any Republicans willing to put the nation before Party politics and adopt the reforms we advocate in this column?  It’s up to us.   VOTE!

           Steve & Al
           Stephen Crockett and Al Lawrence
        April, 2002

Content copyright ©2002, 7A Planville Drive, Fayetteville, TN 37334. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes your acceptance of our Terms and Conditions.   Site developed by Accent Design Studios.