DEMOCRATIC PARTY POSITION:
All hard-working Americans deserve to have assurances of baseline retirement and healthcare benefits sufficient to allow them to live their last years in dignity without undue financial hardship as provided by Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
Twenty-seven percent of the population of Collier County of 385,980 are Social Security beneficiaries, compared to 20% for the entire country.
- REPUBLICANS IN FLORIDA:
Republicans favor brutal cuts and even sunsetting of these popular social programs as they attempt to reaffirm a commitment to balanced budgets, fiscal discipline, and a commitment to lower the national debt. Despite their terrible track record in increasing the federal debt to record levels under each GOP administration, they have repeatedly worsened the fiscal scenario with big tax cuts for high-income individuals and corporations. They reason this fiscal strategy on the premise that trickle-down/supply-side economics will generate increased economic activity and more taxable revenues. Fiscal performance and track record over the Bush and Trump administrations do not support that theory. Furthermore, both administrations ended their terms with record declines in economic activity, record high levels of unemployment, and new record highs in the national debt.
Social Security, contrary to common misconception, does not contribute to annual deficits and the national debt. It is a self-funded pay-as-you-go program. That means it does not receive any money from general taxes, and by law, it cannot.
It raises its own revenue through the payroll tax. Its dedicated revenue stream, principally a 12.4 percent payroll tax, split between employees and employers, goes into a trust fund. All employees pay a certain percentage of their base salary up to what is called the maximum taxable wage base, and employers match those same amounts.
Although the payroll tax money is sent to Washington to be placed in the trust fund, it’s quickly used as follows: 1) benefits owed to current eligible beneficiaries and 2) borrowing by the government for its general needs.
Social Security was designed as a self-funding vehicle, but the Old Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance (OASI) trust funds will be depleted in 2035. Since 2021, the trust fund has paid out more than it has collected in revenues. At the time that it becomes depleted, Congress will have to make a choice between limiting benefits to what it can pay from current Social Security tax receipts or finding other solutions. If policymakers and Congress fail to take solution measures, then 71 million beneficiaries will likely face across-the-board benefit cuts of 23 percent or more.