My brother Isaac took the time to respond to the questions at the end of my blog, “The Only Things Certain In Life Are DEATH and TAXES! Due to the length of his response it will be published in two parts.

What a great breakdown on how are taxes are divided and distributed. Good job. What I find truly fascinating is what a small percentage of our taxes go for the things that significantly impact the middle class.

At the federal level less than 15% of our tax dollars go to areas like: Science and Technology (1%), Education, Training, Employment and Social Services (3%), Agriculture (1%), Veterans Benefits (3%), Transportation (2%). Areas like Energy, Community and Regional Development, get less than 1% of our Federal Income Tax dollars. To be fair some of these areas do receive tax subsidies and grants.

The true irony is that, though these departments account for such a small part of the budget, they are the ones most vulnerable to cuts. Across the board cuts, of virtually any amount, would effectively eliminate the capability of some departments to do their jobs.

As for your questions…

How would I save Social Security? First, I would make sure the money owed to Social Security, by the government, is shown prominently in the budget as a debt owed. There is more than 2.5 trillion dollars currently “borrowed” from the Social Security Trust Fund and those monies should be visible and accounted for. As that money can only be borrowed by the government, and is subject to interest, we should be sure that when money is borrowed its use is for projects that will provide a return on investment. Never again should that money be used to fund things like wars. Could you imagine if just half of that 2.5 trillion dollars had been dedicated to transportation and infrastructure, education, energy or perhaps Veterans Benefits what could have been done? I would also raise the interest on money borrowed from the fund as an added incentive to choose, wisely, [the use] of any borrowed money.

I would look into possibly raising the cap on the amount of income subject to tax. The current cap is $90,000. I would consider raising it, perhaps 50%. This could allow higher payouts, keeping them in line with the true cost of living, not just the cost of being alive. It may be argued that this is nothing more than a tax increase, but I would argue that it is more than a tax increase. It’s also an increase in benefits, and an increase in the security that you may require later in life.

And lastly, I would consider some sort of “means testing.” You know, when you purchase other forms of insurance it is accepted that you are paying for something just in case you need it. Hoping, for the most part, that, you won’t need it. But happy to have it, if you do. Social Security should be something like that. As much as we complain about insurance premiums, we’re happy not to need to use it, and if we get some of it back in rebate, well, so be it.

If I were at a place in life financially, where I could live comfortably, I would gladly fore go my Social Security, especially if [say] I would pay no taxes on money drawn from retirement accounts. Capital gains and money made on investments are already taxed at a minimum rate.

More to follow in Part Two!

You can follow Isaac at his blog at www.declarativeusa.com
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