Many Democrats support either eliminating Social Security’s cap on taxable wages, expanding the types of compensation subject to Social Security payroll taxes—fringe benefits like health insurance, for example—or increasing payroll taxes. “The problem has been that, over time, the amount of revenue that is subject to [Social Security payroll] tax has been declining, partially because of a disparity in the way wages have grown,” Haltzel told me.
Democratic Representative Jim McGovern, who testified at the hearing, worried that Republicans’ promise to not raise taxes would necessarily lead to cuts in Social Security. “It’s not just about getting numbers aligned on the balance sheet, it’s about what our values are,” McGovern said. “If you’ve signed a pledge, ‘No new taxes,’ then revenues are not on the table.”
Congress is not exactly known for its promptness in tackling issues. If Social Security will no longer be solvent as of 2034, it’s easy to see lawmakers not taking any action until the waning months of 2033. Still, Romney, who has co-sponsored another bipartisan bill in the Senate to create a fiscal commission, argued before the House Budget Committee that, regardless of timeline, inaction was not an option.