“Scrapping the Cap”–Who Would it Affect?
The two most recent proposals to revamp Social Security both target the cap on taxable earnings. John Larson’s Social Security 2100 Act calls for a resumption of taxation when annual income levels pass the $400,000 level, while Bernie Sanders’ bill sets the point of resumption for FICA taxation at $250,000. In both cases, the income earned annually between the current limit ($132,900 in 2019) would constitute an untaxed “donut hole,” at least until annual adjustments close in on either the $400,000 or $250,000 levels.
While both of these proposed changes represent a substantial step in resolving the Social Security revenue shortfall, it’s important to understand exactly what portion of the workforce would be impacted by the increased taxation. The Center for Economic and Policy Research has done the research, compiling a formal report titled “Who Pays if We Modify the Social Security Payroll Tax Cap?” The report provides several views of who would be affected by each of the proposals, including several demographic slices of the data.