Tag Archives: payroll tax cut

Payroll Tax Holiday to end in 2013

I read that line about the “payroll tax holiday” last year  in my hometown newspaper. Holidays have to end, after all.

Why do people like to complain about Social Security and the payroll tax?  Some of them are free-market purists, Libertarians, lobbyists, and others who believe that everyone in America can succeed without any government support whatsoever. If you believe that all taxes are ‘confiscatory”, please read no further.

However, I haven’t met any people over 65 yet in the last 25 years who are not claiming their Social Security benefits. Well, there is that one family member who believes that people make rational decisions, all the time. But I digress.

The sub-headline could also have read:

Americans to resume full contributions to Social Security accounts in 2013.

Most of the people I speak to professionally are very appreciative of a lifetime annuity plan, with a cost of living increase, where they don’t have the worry of investment management. (Yes, Virginia, Social Security is that). For many older baby boomers, it will be the only plan like that they ever have.  Continue reading

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$40 Story-Shortchanging U.S.?

For the math alone, I agree with the extension of the payroll tax cut. It is a great way to place 160 million times $1,000 into the economy, automatically. For most people, the periodic extra $40 will go right back into their neighborhood businesses, or maybe just to their gas stations.

However…

This is a short-term fix for a long-term problem.

Tax

What are the long-term losses for the rest of us?

 

  • Now both houses of Congress know that the payroll tax (Social Security can be played for political gain.  Is the “third rail” gone? As Senator Harkin said yesterday,

“I never thought I would have to see the day when a Democratic president of the United States and a Democratic vice president would agree to put Social Security in this kind of jeopardy,” exclaimed a visibly agitated Harkin from the Senate floor. “Never did I ever imagine a Democratic president would be the beginning of the unraveling of Social Security.”

  • Restoration of these contributions (or payroll taxes) is now positioned as a tax cut on the middle class (as opposed to a contribution to a valuable old age and retirement insurance program).
  • If you don’t need the $40 now, are you saving this money for the long-term? Did you increase your contributions to your 401(k) this year?
  • How does this cut affect the health of the Social Security program as a whole? According to the White House, it doesn’t.

Alicia Munnell, of the Boston Center for Retirement Research (BCRR) has a sensible suggestion for restoration of the cut here.

As a financial advisor, I can tell you that the retirement age clients I have met with in the last six months are extremely grateful for their Social Security income. If you look at it as a proxy for a pension or annuity, the perceived value in your portfolio goes way up.

When you compare your Social Security income to the downs and ups of the stock market in the last 3-4 years, a staid stable, guaranteed, income for life, for part of your retirement planning begins to look pretty awesome.

Americans are already not saving enough for retirement, and this payroll tax cut doesn’t help us “eat our peas”.

 

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