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Elimination of payroll tax would impact Social Security benefits

By Staff | Sep 16, 2020

To the editor:

According to AARP the Social Security retirement benefit is currently solvent through 2035, assuming no changes to contributions and no increases in benefits. The FICA tax supplies most of the funds for the benefits paid to currently retired seniors and disabled workers. (89% of all Social Security benefit obligations) are paid out of the current FICA tax. This 12.4% FICA payroll tax comes out of each employee’s check every payday. It is a matching tax; the employer matches his/her workers’ contribution with an equal amount.

This is the payroll tax that President Trump wants to end. He suspended it during the pandemic, but if re elected, President Trump insists he would cut the FICA tax permanently. AARP suggests this fiscal policy would require a downward adjustment in benefits to retirees (unless there is a new revenue generating tax added somewhere else). President Trump has not declared that he would tax billionaires to make up the benefit shortfall; only that he will cut the FICA tax of current wage earners and their employers. Cutting FICA only, could result in a drop in benefits. If that revenue stream is severed, cuts to 79% of current benefit levels are one predictable result, per AARP.

Two things every retired Floridian should consider doing: recalculating your retirement plan with an adviser, and registering to vote in the November election.

If you are not registered to vote, but intend to vote in the upcoming presidential election scheduled for Nov. 3, you have 29 days before the election to register to vote. You must be registered to vote on or before Oct. 5 to participate in the 11/3/2020 election. You may register online at lee.vote where you may also make an online request for a vote by mail ballot at votebymail@lee.vote.

Ellen Starbird

Cape Coral