COMMON SENSE

I received a letter from Alan Grayson, a missive that made such good sense, I thought I’d reprint it here. I’m a fan of his even though he is from Florida. They don’t often make sense there, it seems to me, but Alan always does.

Dear Mary,

I think that LeBron James should pay the same percentage of his income in Social Security taxes as everyone else does.

He doesn’t. Not by a long shot. In fact, not by a 90-footer.

Most Americans pay 6.20% of their incomes to Social Security taxes. LeBron James pays 0.03% of his income toward Social Security taxes. In fact, he is finished paying his Social Security taxes in the second quarter of his first game of his season. Then he’s done for the rest of the game, and the rest of the season – including the playoffs. Even the offseason.

“Wow,” you say. Yes, “wow” indeed.

I want to make this clear – this is nothing personal. I love to watch LeBron James play basketball. I forgive him for taking his talents to South Beach, but then taking them right back to Cleveland. I look forward to his becoming the all-time NBA scoring champion, during the 2021-22 season.

But I think that he should have to pay the same percentage in Social Security taxes as others do.

The Social Security tax applies only to the first $118,500 of income (the “cap”). As soon as LeBron and anyone else reaches that limit, they’re done for the year.

Which is precisely why some people fret about the system going broke. The solution is obvious. No cap, no problem. In addition to making our tax system more fair, scrapping the cap would make Social Security solvent forever and ever. And ever. So I have introduced a bill to do that, and the Social Security Administration has confirmed that it solves the problem once and for all. Sure, some Republicans would be sad — they’d have no excuse to push sadistic cuts in Social Security benefits. But the rest of us would be thrilled.

Q. When does a teacher stop paying Social Security taxes? A. Never.

Q. When does a nurse stop paying Social Security taxes? A. Never.

Q. Why do only the rich get this huge tax break, threatening the solvency of the program? A. I wish I knew.

Grayson is pushing a bill through congress called Scrap the Cap. I hope it passes.

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