Under the current rules, the maximum taxable earnings for Social Security in 2012 is about $110,000. Some argue that an easy fix would be to simply raise the cap on Social Security taxes to include higher wages.
Baker, of CEPR, proposes raising the cap to around $190,000, reflecting the growing wealth at the top of the income scale. Raise it higher than that, he said, and wealthy earners will just start finding ways to dodge it.
But others say that it’s unlikely politicians will propose raising taxes on high earners now, when many expect those taxpayers to already see increases as part of the fiscal cliff negotiations.
“The timing of it just seems kind of awkward,” Auerbach said.
Another option would be to add an across-the-board increase in payroll taxes that go toward Social Security. Although that would help solve the system’s future funding woes, experts say it’s also likely to be a hard sell in these tough times.