An analysis by The Associated Press reveals Social Security is not the deal it once was. People retiring now and in the future, The AP says, will have paid more in Social Security taxes than they likely will receive in benefits.
Actually, that news is twice as bad as the wire service makes it sound. That's because the amount workers pay in Social Security taxes is matched by their employers. Those who are self-employed foot the whole bill.
Where did the other half go? Here's where it didn't go: in the employee's pocket.
True, one can't be certain all - or even part - of the taxes paid into Social Security by an employer would have been put in paychecks instead. Perhaps, without that burden, the employer could have lowered prices. Or maybe the employer would have pocketed it.
But employers certainly considered the 6.2 percent payroll tax (7.4 percent, including Medicare) part of the cost of labor. Thus, that money could have been part of a paycheck.
Even more troublesome is the fact the Social Security Trust Funds have been borrowed and spent by the federal government - which means the Treasury bonds left in their place will have to be paid by future tax revenue. This means some folks will, in a very real sense, be paying into Social Security yet again.
That's important to keep in mind for those workers - and their employers - move from paying for health insurance to paying a tax to cover health care expenses.