Cumberland Times-News

October 10, 2012

Columnist off base regarding Social Security, Medicare rates

To the Editor:
Cumberland Times-News

— Gene Lyons recent column published in your newspaper on Sept. 25 (“His words say a lot”) had a major error regarding the rates for Social Security and Medicare rates paid by individuals.

Mr. Lyons’ article reads in part, “Another 60 percent, according to the Tax Policy Foundation, are working people who simply don’t earn enough to pay federal income taxes. But they do remit Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes amounting to 15.3 percent of their salaries — more than the 13.9 percent paid by Romney himself, on the one tax return he’s condescended to release”.

Mr. Lyons, unfortunately, failed to investigate the matter or maybe he never looks at his paycheck to see what Social Security taxes we all actually pay.

So here is the truth! (Can be easily verified by doing the math with your pay-stub or visit the “Official” Social Security website or call them!

Social Security rates are normally 6.2 percent paid by the employee, and the employer also pays 6.2 percent, which totals 12.4 percent.

Medicare rates are 1.45 percent paid by the employee, and the employer also pays 1.45 percent, which totals 2.9 percent.

The two added together equal 15.3 percent, but the employee only pays 7.65 percent, not the 15.3 percent Mr Lyons indicates in his article!

A year or two ago the Social Security rate was reduced to 4.2 percent, which when added to 1.45 percent for Medicare equals only 5.65 percent paid by the employee, not 15.3 percent!

Also keep in mind that Romney also paid the same 5.45 percent on his income up to $110,100 in addition to the 13.9 percent he supposedly paid.

So what is the real truth? Romney paid 13.9 percent tax on income, whereas the employee paid “0”!! Romney paid 5.45 percent of $110,000 to Social Security, and the employer paid the same!

Keep in mind the oath taken in court when called to testify, “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?”

Unfortunately, Mr. Lyons has not given us the truth or the whole truth. He probably would have been better off to have omitted any reference to Social Security/Medicare to avoid confusion.

Hopefully, in the future somebody in the newspaper industry and the reporters or columnists will take the time to proof their work to make sure it is accurate, unbiased and factual!

May we all live long enough to see that!

J. Jeffrey Hutter Sr.

Cumberland