Americans May Be Getting An Idea For What Social Security Really Costs Them

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“For the first time in two decades, we raised taxes on the wealthiest 2% of Americans in a bipartisan way, while preventing a middle-class tax hike that could have thrown our economy back into recession,” President Obama said in his weekly address yesterday. “Under this law, more than 98% of Americans and 97% of small business will not see their income taxes go up one dime.”

That’s, well, a lie. As many as 77% of US households will see a tax increase thanks to the “fiscal cliff” deal, due mostly to the fact that reductions in payroll taxes were allowed to expire. Democrats argue that the expiration of temporary tax cuts shouldn’t count as a tax hike, but temporary or not, when Americans go from paying one level of taxes to a higher level of taxes that’s a tax hike regardless of whether or not the lower rates were temporary or not.

I believe that it was a good thing payroll taxes went back up. I opposed the payroll tax cuts as they cut revenues from the Social Security program. I have no love of that program, I think Americans ought to be allowed to opt out of it, but as it is currently structured the program is already in deficit. It is obligated to pay more in benefits than it receives in revenues, and thanks to a trust fund that was emptied long ago and replaced with US treasury bonds, Social Security’s deficit now adds to the national budget deficit.

The payroll tax cut only exacerbated that problem.

That being said, Americans are angry about their payroll taxes going up. And why wouldn’t they be? Their taxes are going up a lot:

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Perhaps this sting will fade from the minds of Americans quickly. Or perhaps it will stick with them, and serve as a reminder of just how costly programs like Social Security are, and just how little most working-class Americans can hope to get back for them.

A lot of voters don’t really have any grasp on the cost to them directly of these programs like Social Security and Medicare. The taxes for them get removed automatically from their paychecks, and while the totals are right there on their pay stubs, because it’s all automated I don’t think many Americans even really think of that as their money.

But thanks to the payroll tax cut, they got used to keeping more of that money. Now that it’s going back to the government, they’re upset.

I’m not one to advocate higher rates of taxation, but there’s something to be said of appropriately pricing government and making that cost transparent to voters.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • Spartacus

    My first paycheck of 2013 year was a little more than $50 less than the last paycheck of 2012. I’ve already decided to increase my pretax deductions to compensate, but I need to wait until after the middle of February to see what corporate decides the bonus multiplier will be and what percentage they’ve decided wages will increase this year before I compensate. The federal government isn’t getting anything more from me without a fight.

    • Spartacus

      Apparently there’s one person out there that doesn’t like the idea that others can take steps to insure their wages aren’t stolen for political gain or the personal gain of the unwilling to work. It must suck to be that person because what I do is perfectly legal.

  • WOOF

    Which party fought to raise the payroll tax ?
    You know who. Pssst, it was Republicans.
    Which party wants to lower Soc Sec benefits?

    Whining while you reap what you Teatards sowed.

    • yy4u2

      Whimpering woofy…who was it that started the social security program and then medicare? Which party would love to pick those that get the payments/benefits and those that pay into and how much? You are a useful idiot for your Democrat comrades yet remain just an idiot here at SAB.

      • WOOF

        America loves Soc Sec and Medicare. Everyone who works receives those benefits, plus their spouses and children.

        Keep running against them and your party will be able to hold its national convention in the Unibomber shack.

        • yy4u2

          Addicts ‘buy’ what the pusher sells. They prey on you and you pray for them to keep it coming.

          Adults do what is right for themselves and their families which is providing for the present and planning for the future. I never read a nonfiction book that said life would be without its good times and bad. I’ve read plenty of nonfiction and revisionist history over the years; lands/ideas of make believe and apparently the truth according to you and flocks of sheople. Forty-three million on foodstamps can’t be wrong I guess. /sarc

          Keep the people poor and deprive them of their soul and will to be more/do more for themselves. Works great in every socialist utopia ever created. Just look at the thriving Indian Reservations right here in the US. Look at the thriving inner cities.

          Just more time and money, Woofy? That’s all that is needed right?

          How about we tell the truth to people; life isn’t a box of chocolates. And btw, a lot of people my age (40’s) suspect or know SS and other entitlements won’t be there for us and have planned accordingly. Too bad you and millions of others drank from Satan’s govt cup of lies. Now back to your porch while the adults keep providing and preparing.

          • WOOF

            Your parents are have Soc Sec direct deposit. Gonna take that and their Medicare from them ?

          • yy4u2

            Guess what jackass, they planned ahead and wouldn’t think of burdening their kids or grandchild. I think it is normal to do that. Dad has an 8th grade education n mom raised two boys…hard work, dedication, that awful Christianity n enjoyment of respecting ourselves, others n nature…plenty of money n each other as well as tons of friends. If us backwoods folk can do it, why is it you elitist thinkers, the omniscient engineers of life can’t make it? Because u don’t know what it takes. U only have thoughts (that don’t work except in liberal loonyland) n u play on the sheople’s feelings. Without those two, there is no dem party. With those two we have the ‘soft’ socialism ur ilk has come to expect.

          • SusanBeehler

            Social Security is not much to live off, and I hope anyone over 25 and employed is putting money into something else, otherwise you can look forward to living on less than a $1000 a month.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            Social Security is almost certainly not going to be there for my generation.

            I’m not counting on it at all. And shouldn’t we give Americans the freedom to opt out of this?

    • Spartacus

      Which party ran out of money to fund their war in Vietnam and voted to raid the Social Security piggy bank to continue funding it, thus applying even more grease to the slippery slope before they went over it?
      Bonus question. Which party voted to end the Vietnam war weeks before the V.C. were ready to give up, after said party squandered Social Security funds on it?

      • WOOF

        You think Lyndon Johnson took the 2% out of your paycheck this month ? You’ve been watching too many zombie movies.

        • http://proof-proofpositive.blogspot.com/ Proof

          Yeah. Everybody knows it was the Obama payroll tax hike on the poor and middle class

        • Spartacus

          Thanks for proving my theory, WOOF. My theory is that when liberals face the obvious they obfuscate.
          Quite a legacy you democrats have there, protecting Social Security. Starving grandpa and grandma so that you can have their grand kids die for no reason in a foreign country, and then after squandering the grans savings you snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory just so their grand kids can die for nothing. The democrat way at its finest. Your legacy, live with it.

          • WOOF

            Proving your theory? You failed geometry. http://images.appleswitcher.com/smilies/zorg_eddy.gif

          • Spartacus

            No, I didn’t fail geometry, nor trigonometry or calculus. I said theory… not theorem. Which indicates you’re either making yourself look stupid to buy time for an excuse (obfuscating) or you really are stupid. You tell me (us) which way your going there. The ball’s back in your court, chase it Fido. Perhaps you should call a friend, do you have RBB or Hannitized on speed dial? I’ll wait.

        • guest

          It’s Sunday, give your stupidity a break and take the rest of the day off. Go watch tv commercials.

          • Spartacus

            he doesn’t have $19.99 to spare.

  • http://twitter.com/judymorris3 judy morris

    Ouch. I wouldn’t be proud to be on that nasty list of statists, commies, neocons and anti-liberty sites.

  • mickey_moussaoui

    I’m glad I retired when I did. Yes, I will collect my SS. If I can wait untill 65 I will. I figure that Democrats will destroy the entire global economy in 20 years or so anyway

  • SusanBeehler

    Is that net income or gross income?

    • Spartacus

      To whom are you addressing, butch? Net if you’re asking me. Desperate to know what my salary is?

      • SusanBeehler

        Sorry my world does not revolve around your income, slavo. I thought the chart was the impact of something else, than I realized it was the payroll tax and that is a dribble in the bucket compared to the property tax and special assessments we have to pay in Mandan. Any tax held out automatically like payroll taxes or the property tax with your mortgage payment just does not get the same attention as if you have to pay in on April 15. The “best” way for the government to get our dollars, because most of the taxpayers don’t really pay attention when it is “automatic”.

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