RJ Matson, Roll Call

Century Marks

Where’s the crisis? Robert Ball, 91, former commissioner of the Social Security Administration, is an ardent supporter of the program. “There’s no Social Security crisis today,” he said. “When we did have one, to the extent that it really was one, we fixed it,” referring to the adjustments made to the program in 1983. There is a problem, Bell admits, but it is an issue external to SS: the rising gap in income between the rich and the poor. In 1983, the goal was set to tax 90 percent of all earnings for Social Security. With the current cap on Social Security taxes set at $90,000, only about 85 percent of all earnings are now taxed for Social Security revenue. This slippage has cost the program $200 billion over the past 20 years, and over the next 75 years, if the cap isn’t increased sufficiently, it could cost the program $1 trillion more. Ball advocates gradually increasing the cap to reach the 90 percent goal again (The American Scholar, Summer).


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