Proposal: Cut 401(k) Tax Exemption to Fund Social Security Shortfall - AMAC & Yahoo Finance

Vince Cariaga summarizes here a paper by authors Andrew Biggs and Alicia Munnell from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College that covers new ground. The two propose to fix Social Security’s looming insolvency problem by eliminating tax preferences included in 401(k)s and other employer-sponsored retirement plans. Their paper cited Treasury Department data showing the tax preference for employer-sponsored retirement plans and IRAs reduced federal income taxes, and thus revenue, by around $185-$189 billion in 2020. Further, evidence suggests the federal tax preferences do little to increase retirement saving. But not everyone agrees. Adam Michel, director of tax policy studies at the Cato Institute filed a brief on Feb. 1 that took issue with the claim, and a separate paper from current and former officials at George Mason University’s Mercantus Center criticized the Biggs-Munnell proposal. Full article here.

As an example of the leading thoughts on reforming Social Security, the Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC, Inc.) believes Social Security must be preserved and modernized.  This can be achieved without tax increases by slight modifications to cost-of-living adjustments and payments to high-income beneficiaries plus gradually increasing the full (but not early) retirement age.  AMAC Action, AMAC’s advocacy arm, supports an increase in the threshold where benefits are taxed and then indexing for inflation, and calls for eliminating the reduction in people’s benefits for those choosing to work before full retirement age.  AMAC is resolute in its mission that Social Security be preserved for current and successive generations and has gotten the attention of lawmakers in D.C., meeting with many congressional offices and staff over the past decade. 

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