Newt Gingrich on Social Security
Former Republican Representative (GA-6) and Speaker of the House
Suppose that workers were free to save and invest, in their own personal accounts, up to roughly 50% of what they currently pay in payroll taxes. Employers would contribute the same amount to their workers' personal accounts out of the payroll taxes they currently pay on behalf of their employees. This plan was proposed in a bill by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. John Sununu (R-NH). Lower income workers would be allowed to invest a slightly higher percentage of what they currently pay in payroll taxes, and higher-income workers a little less.
If a personal account pays more than the Social Security benefits it replaces, [the taxpayer] gets to keep the gain. If the account is insufficient to pay for all the benefits it replaces, the government pays the difference.
The Ryan-Sununu bill provides for a personal social security savings account option for Social Security and solves the long-term problems of the program. Under this bill, workers & employers would still contribute a total of 6.4% [of income]. But this is money that belongs to the workers in their own individual accounts, so it is not a tax that goes to the government. The Ryan-Sununu plan would be effectively the largest tax cut in world history.
Personal social security savings accounts will in fact fulfill the promise that the Social Security system cannot deliver: a guaranteed retirement account.
69% of workers aged 45 to 74 reported that they plan to work in some capacity in their retirement years, even if they won the lottery. For those aged 33 to 52, the younger boomers, 75% said they would work into their retirement years.
The baby boomerís desire to stay active is good news for the economy. We must recognize that rethinking government rules for retirement and reforming Medicare to encourage economic activity are key steps toward a better future. The policies that may have made sense in earlier eras when people died younger are simply not applicable in an era when more people are healthier longer.
One of the steps we need to take is to amend the law so that an individualís paycheck reflects the amount of money that is actually being paid into the FICA system. People will realize that they are paying twice the tax they believed they were paying. For over half the American population the total FICA tax they are paying is bigger than their income tax.
[As part of the Contract with America, within 100 days we pledge to bring to the House Floor the following bill]:
The Senior Citizens Fairness Act:
Raise the Social Security earnings limit, which currently forces seniors out of the workforce; repeal the 1993 tax hikes on Social Security; and provide tax incentives for private long-term care insurance to let older Americans keep more of what they have earned over the years.
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