Point of view: One way for SSA to secure promised benefits

By Published On: January 25, 2024Last Updated: May 15, 20241.4 min read

As our members know all too well, Social Security is a vital social safety net, the importance of which cannot be overstated. Yet solvency of the Social Security trust fund remains a looming issue. At NOSSCR, we encourage a bipartisan exchange of ideas to find the right solutions to protect and enhance Social Security.  

In a recent Forbes article, senior contributor and professor of economics Teresa Ghilarducci outlines one potential solution:  

In the first few hours of 2024, over 220 U.S. workers will have likely paid all their Social Security taxes for the entire year. In contrast, over 160 million workers will pay all year. 

In 2023, the maximum earnings subject to Social Security taxes was $160,200, in 2024 it is $168,600. Elon Musk earned $168,600 in about 4 minutes. It took Tim Cook of Apple about 2 hours. If the top ten CEO’s – chiefs from Salesforce, Activision, Microsoft, Apple, etc. paid Social Security tax on all their income — including stock options — the system would have received $3.4 billion. Only salaries from executives at public companies are disclosed so we do not even know who the top-paid executives are at private companies. 

The point is a lot of income escapes the Social Security system; and the escaping-income is from the wealthiest Americans. If we raised the cap on the maximum earnings subject to Social Security taxes, and included more pay in the definition of earnings, we could more than pay for promised Social Security benefits for decades to come and even have some money left over to eliminate poverty among all Social Security recipients.  

This article was not written by a NOSSCR employee, and these views do not necessarily represent NOSSCR’s views. We are sharing this article for informational purposes. 


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