Question of the Week: seniors sound off on “scrapping the cap”

Last week, we asked you if you support raising or even eliminating the maximum taxable wage cap–popularly called “scrapping the cap.”

As we explained last week, at face value, this Social Security-boosting strategy seems commonsense to most people. It would raise or remove the cap that allows the highest earning Americans to avoid contributing payroll taxes on 100% of their earnings.

But this strategy isn’t so simple when thoroughly examined. It would shift the brunt of Social Security’s financing on a small group of high earners who would never see a fair return on their contributions.

Given the popularity of this idea–and its very legitimate criticism–we left the answer up to you: would YOU raise or remove the earnings cap on Social Security contributions?

And here is what you said.

Out of six total responses:

6 support the idea of raising or eliminating the earnings cap

0 oppose allowing our current earnings cap to remain the same

1 supports completely eliminating the cap, requiring all workers to contribute on 100% of their earnings

3 support raising the earnings cap to between $200,000 and $400,000 (our current cap sits at $137,700)

1 supports barring very high earners from collecting Social Security benefits entirely

These responses reflect the general opinion of Americans across the country. Scrapping the cap is easily the most popular Social Security reform policy among the public and legislators seeking to repair Social Security’s solvency. It features heavily in today’s most active Social Security reform packages, including the Social Security 2100 Act.

To appeal to the majority of workers who feel millionaires and billionaires would be financially secure despite larger contributions in payroll taxes–while being mindful of those earning just over the cap who might be financially burdened by higher taxes–the 2100 Act applies payroll taxes to all earnings above $400,000.

We received a ton of feedback about this issue on social media. Here is some of what you had to say about scrapping the cap:

Depends on how the payout is calculated. If there is no cap, the top earners would be putting in so much more than the other 99%. But if they also get so much more in return, then it would drain the fund too much faster, too. So, I’m for keeping the cap, just to prevent the top earners from taking too much out.

I agree the cap should be raised, but I believe the next step to protect Social Security is to place Senate and House retirement under Social Security. Elected members would have a vested interest in seeing it works. If they work for us, we need to eliminate the “separate but equal” retirement programs.

Eliminate the cap and insure funds for the next generation. That is assuming the government keeps its hands off it!

I agree everyone should pay. But the more you pay in, the more you get back. So those top earners will still upset the balance. The cap should be raised to at least double what it is now. Those top earners have the ability to provide for their retirement with other means. Not so easy for the middle and lower classes to do so.

The cap is low. There has been massive inflation since the cap was initiated.

There should be no cap. Or it could be income based. You can’t draw on it until you are making a lesser amount of income.

I get upset because millionaires can collect Social Security. Why? Like they need $2800 a month while some seniors get $500 a month.

Raise the maximum taxable earnings cap for those people that make over $137,000 annually. Don’t see why raising it to $200,000 wouldn’t work. Most people in America don’t make even $100,000 yet they pay tax on all of their income.

Thanks again to everyone who participated! And keep an eye out for our next Question of the Week. It’ll be coming your way tomorrow.