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Can the rich and famous save social security.

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posted on Jun, 1 2005 @ 05:18 PM

Can Tiger Woods save Social Security?

The question is not as far-fetched as it sounds. President Bush broke political orthodoxy April 28 when he proposed that Social Security benefits grow more slowly for "better off" workers than low-income workers.

The president's proposal raised the tantalizing question: Can Social Security be fixed on the backs of the wealthy - leaving most Americans unscathed?

The populist theme of targeting the affluent has become one of the most talked-about approaches for solving the retirement system's financial problems. Like his call for individual investment accounts, the president's willingness to discuss treating the rich and poor differently has opened a new chapter in the Social Security debate.

Taxing all income and capping benefits would fix Social Security - mathematically, at least. The program would run a permanent surplus if all income - including the millions earned by athletes, movie stars and corporate tycoons - were subject to the 12.4% Social Security tax and if benefits for the affluent were capped at current levels, according to the Social Security Administration.

Americans say they like the idea of making the rich pay more and get less. More than two-thirds support cutting benefits for the affluent and applying the Social Security tax to all income, not just the first $90,000 earned, according to a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll in February. These extreme changes have little political support in Washington today because they would impose a $100 billion-a-year tax increase on the wealthy and turn Social Security into more of a welfare program than a pension plan.

But the idea offers a measure of how radically the system must be restructured to make it financially sound and how politically difficult it will be to do so.

Simply trimming benefits for the wealthy does little to help Social Security. The rich are too few in number and get limited benefits already.

to me, there are too few rich people, in ani case do we depend on rich people to help pay for my ummm our social security wen we retire?


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