01 Jan Why don’t government workers pay Social Security tax?
Q. Why do government employees not, by law, have to pay a Social Security tax? I expect to have a God-given right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but I haven’t experienced this because my taxes are so high. Why are we being exploited?
A. We get that you’re angry, but let’s make sure we’re talking about the real facts here.
Government employees do pay into the system if they were hired after 1987, said Jerry Lynch, a certified financial planner with JFL Total Wealth Management in Boonton.
“They pay the same as you or me,” he said.
In terms of taxes, Lynch said he isn’t sure why you’re complaining.
“At least since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the Trump tax program, most people are paying substantially less than they did previously, especially at a lower income level,” he said. “As of 2018, in a study done by the Tax Policy Center, approximately 43 to 44% of all Americans pay no income tax due to tax credits and the standard deduction that was doubled under the Trump tax program.”
The top 50% pay 96.9% of the total taxes, he said. Of that, the top 5% pay 59.1% of total taxes, and the top 1% pays 38.5% of total taxes, according to the Tax Foundation.
If you’re not happy with where you are, Lynch had several recommendations.
First, make sure you are working with the facts, he said.
“Read different sources of the same stories to get a good perspective on what is happening,” he said. “I get frustrated with people debating me with ‘facts’ that are factually wrong.”
“Trust but verify. Just because it is on the internet or on TV does not make it true,” he said.
Next, he said, be sure to vote. “Not just Democrat or Republican but based upon the issues,” he said.
Write to your senators, congressmen and legislatures and give them your thoughts, he said.
“Especially if you want to better yourself, constantly look to learn more. I still pay more for education each and every year than what I spent on college to stay on top of my game,” Lynch said.
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This story was originally published on Jan. 1, 2021.
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