Monday, March 07, 2005
Social Security "Crisis" Solution
On Saturday evening Congressman Norm Dicks addressed the Kitsap County Democrats. He proposed a relatively simple and painless solution to the so-called "crisis" surrounding Social Security solvency: allow the elimination of the inheritance tax to expire in 2011. His solution is to take the taxes on estates of the richest 1% of Americans and apply that to Social Security. Sounds good to me. Please notice my name isn't Bill Gates. But Mr. Bill Gates Sr. advocated against the law killing the inheritance tax.
So I Googled this subject to try to find some numbers. I've found an article in the Washington Post by Jonathan Weisman wherein he cites the apparent source of this idea.
More attractive has been the ultimate "tinkerer" plan from Robert M. Ball, a former Social Security commissioner. Rep. David R. Obey (Wis.), the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, has made Ball's plan his own, and its nip-and-tuck approach to the problem has influenced the stance of AARP, the powerful retirees' lobby.
Ball would take four initial steps: lift the cap on taxable wages to 90 percent of all earnings, or about $145,000; slow annual cost-of-living benefit adjustments; cover newly hired state and local government workers; and dedicate all inheritance taxes levied on estates worth more than $3.5 million to Social Security.
Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times also discussed it briefly in a column while providing hard-hitting criticism of the whole brou-haha.
I wasn't able to find a source with number projections. But it seems like an idea worthy of discussion and exploration, advanced by an independent expert. What's not to like?