Correctly framing the issues that face this country is critical to getting good results that work. The Right Wing has been honing their skills at getting us to use their frames for decades, and if we don't recognize how they've gotten us to change the subject, we risk losing Social Security altogether.
But I can't necessarily blame you for falling for it; most everyone else across all political spectrums have fallen for it, too. The Right Wing agenda here is to get you to turn the subject away from how they've decimated the Social Security fund by instituting tax policies that favor the wealthy over the working class, and narrow your focus to what they want you to talk about: reforming the Social Security system itself.
Why? So they can make it so toxic for any politician to touch ("tough choices"), that they'll be in a strong position to profitize it, all for the benefit of the 1 percent, of course.
I know you know all these facts about how the Social Security system works, but please allow me to lay this out starting with the basics for the benefit of all our readers, so we have a better understanding of how, where, and why the Right Wing have intentionally misdirected us.
There's a cap on the level of income that is taxable for the Social Security pool.
Every dollar of corporate profits that goes to people above that line doesn't get taxed at all for Social Security.
Workers have been increasing their productivity on a steady incline for about three quarters of a century now. But somewhere around the mid- to late-1960s workers' wages stagnated, sending 100 percent of corporate profits above that line!
Had workers been paid a thriving wage for the decades since this split between productivity and wages took place, billions if not trillions of dollars would have gone into the paychecks of those who will be needing to rely on Social Security, and it would have been taxed for the purposes of Social Security.
Fix the problem of corporations depriving workers of thriving wages, and there won't be anything to worry about with Social Security.
Remember when you were a kid and you said to your mother, “Mom, it hurts when I do 'this',” and she would respond with all her motherly wisdom: “Well then stop doing 'this'!”
Well that’s what I'd like to say to our Republican leadership and Big Business leaders when they whine that "It hurts to have to pay so much in taxes on the vast wealth we've hoarded from our businesses instead of paying workers with it!" The mom in me just wants to peer over my reading glasses and say:
“Well then stop hoarding all the money!”
It’s really just that simple; exactly as it was when we were kids.
The title pretty much says it, but let's explain ...
We have a serious problem in America: Workers in this country have not seen their level of compensation rise in 40 years in comparison with executive and shareholder compensation, the actual cost of living, or even their own productivity.
Our political leaders have focused on the disparity between worker and top executive compensation, referring to it as either "pay inequality," or "pay inequity," but this has created an atmosphere of defensiveness on the part of those at the top of the corporate food chain. And this is not the atmosphere that Progressives want to engender. We know it's going to take all of us working together—especially those at the top—to get this problem solved.
And lagging worker compensation is a problem, not just a "discrepancy" issue or a "fairness" issue. And no one thinks the average worker and the most senior executive should be earning "equal pay" as one another. So what is the real problem?
From at least the mid-twentieth century until the mid 1970s, worker productivity and worker compensation traveled on the exact same path. Hard working Americans saw their pay increase in direct proportion to their efforts. This made for a robust working and middle class in America, who had money to live on, money to spend, and money to save. When the middle class has sufficient money to live on, they only need to fall back on taxpayer-funded assistance if they hit a serious bump in the road, such as the loss of a job and the draining of all savings.