The editorial by the Los Angeles Times, “Time to fix Social Security is now, not later,” on April 27, offers an incomplete analysis of the problem.

The real problem with preserving Social Security lies with our political leaders and opinion makers.

Some, mostly Republicans, are ideologically opposed to Social Security and would like to see it abolished or, at least, “privatized.” Many others are so wealthy that they, personally, will never need Social Security. These are not people who can be trusted to have the best interests of most elderly Americans at heart.

We need to reframe the argument. First, the idea of a “permanent 16 percent cut in benefits” is absurd. Many Social Security recipients would be devastated by such a cut.

Second, why limit the discussion to “raising the cap on wages”? Let’s discuss eliminating the cap entirely. Let’s discuss going even further, subjecting all income, both “earned” and “unearned,” to the Social Security tax, while lowering the tax rate for everyone.

But wait, the talking heads say, if we increase taxes on the wealthy, we will hurt job creation. What nonsense we’re being fed. The fact is, there is absolutely no historic basis for claiming that a low top tax rate creates jobs. How many jobs did Mitt Romney create in America by stashing millions in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands?

Why does Romney refuse to release his tax returns for the last 10 years? Because he knows that they will only reinforce his image as a wealthy son of privilege, paying a much lower tax rate than many Americans, while stashing his “excess” millions overseas. Romney is perhaps a perfect candidate to represent the interests of Wall Street financiers, but hardly someone who can be trusted with the presidency of the United States.

John R. Merrill


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