Of course I'm liberal, I believe in liberty.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Our Real Tax Rates

Much of the debate on Social Security centers on trust fund and whether it is 'real' or not. For years I've been claiming the trust fund is basically an elaborate hoax as the extra money paid into social security simply went into the general fund to be spent like every other tax, leading to a rather regressive tax code. Ironically, it is now conservatives who claim the fund isn't really a fund, which means we have a problem as soon as 2018.

So if there is no fund and social security tax is just another income tax, what are the current tax rates? Social security charges 6.2% to the individual and 6.2% to the company. I'm going to assume a tax is a tax, whether the company pays it as part of your benefits (from the employer's perspective) or the employee pays it directly. If you disagree that splitting the tax is more than just an attempt to make the tax look smaller than it really is feel free to subtract 6.2% from the results.

Tax RateTax w/ SSSingle Filer's Income
15% 27.4% $7,151-$29,050
25% 37.4% $29,051-$70,350
28% 40.4% $70,351-$87,900
28% 28% $87,900-$146,750
33% 33% $178,651-$319,100
35% 35% $319,101

The tax rates don't look so progressive any more, do they?

UPDATE: I should point out this table is intended to be used as a talking point, representing the most extreme interpretation of the social security tax. In my opinion, only the portion of the tax that goes into the trust fund really should be treated as a normal tax. Unfortunately, I'm having trouble finding that number. If I find it I'll add a column to the chart.

UPDATE 2: fixed the link to the original tax bracket table.