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Letters

An insecurity complex over Social Security

(Elise Amendola/File/AP)

Self-serving false alarms are sounded over health of the retirement system

I was disappointed with the article “Funding crisis approaches for Social Security” (Page A1, July 21). I am among the 75 percent of Massachusetts seniors who depend on Social Security.

In its 84 years, through wars and recessions, Social Security has never missed a payment. If nothing changes, Social Security will be able to pay full benefits through 2035. Simply raising the federal minimum wage would extend this greatly.

People with ulterior motives continue to sound false alarms. Some simply want to cut our earned benefits. Others want to let Wall Street manage the system — for a profit, of course.

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Several bills pending in Congress would expand Social Security benefits and extend the life of the Social Security trust fund. A common feature is to raise the cap now placed on the income taxed to fund the program. There is no reason that Jeff Bezos should pay a lower percentage of his income into Social Security than his lowest-paid employee.

Expanding Social Security and eliminating the cap on earnings has the overwhelming support of the American people.

John Ratliff

President

Massachusetts Alliance for Retired Americans

Cambridge

Lift the cap on taxes, and — voila!

Robert Weisman’s article on Social Security’s funding challenges omits one key fact: Social Security contributions are capped. Anyone who earns more than $132,900 doesn’t pay Social Security taxes on income above that amount, even if they take home $1 million or more.

In this time of highly unequal incomes, making Social Security a flat tax — meaning everyone pays the same rate, rather than rich people paying less — could largely fill the funding gap, if it included bonuses and other non-salary income.

Seems simple to me.

Lori Kenschaft

Arlington

US has major budget woes, but Social Security is not among them

The article “Funding crisis approaches for Social Security,” like many commentaries and political speeches over the last 20 or 30 years, suggests that one of the most successful and popular federal programs in the history of our country is facing a crisis that our leadership is unwilling to address. But the fact is that Social Security is fine, and can go on making peoples’ lives better, with modest adjustments in tax policy.

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The Social Security trust fund holds a roughly $3 trillion surplus built up from the mid-1980s to the present. The baby boomers entering the program today built that surplus with their taxes. During the same period, the federal government ran overall budget deficits on the order of $100 billion or more. These deficits were not caused by Social Security, which was running a surplus.

The current year’s overall budget deficit is projected to be $1 trillion, a sum vastly larger than the net amount Social Security will draw from the trust this year. The federal deficit is a result of tax cuts and the expenditure of trillions of dollars on wars and weapons. It was not produced by Social Security.

Dale Barkey

Lee, N.H.