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Restore Social Security payroll tax now

Eric Smith Groton

Publication: The Day

Published 11/07/2012 12:00 AM
Updated 11/06/2012 11:42 PM

One of the more ill-advised tax breaks offered as assistance to middle-income workers has been the "temporary" reduction in the Social Security payroll tax. This tax represents the foundation of the nation's defined benefit pension program. It works exactly as intended: the employee and the employer each contribute 6.4 percent of the wages earned (up to a cap) and this Trust Fund, in theory, grows over time to fund the retirement of the contributing workers when their earning years have ended.

In reality, if congresses and administrations of both parties hadn't raided the fund continuously to pay for other programs, it would still be capable of funding those retirements. This shortfall needs to be addressed but, in the meantime, the temporary reduction in the tax must be allowed to expire so that Social Security achieves its goals. It had appeared that leaders in both parties agreed, until recently when a story suggested that "a growing number of voices" are urging Congress and the White House to extend the cuts.

Enough!

If Congress or the administration want to provide tax relief, let it come from the income tax. Leave Social Security as the self-sustaining program it was always intended to be.

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