"Social Security has never added a penny to the deficit and should not be part of any deficit reduction negotiations," the AFL-CIO study points out.
The AFL-CIO also supports "scrapping the cap."
The cap exempts Americans from paying any Social Security taxes on annual earned income over $110,100 in 2012. The AFL-CIO wants all earnings to become subject to Social Security payroll taxes.
"High earners should contribute the same percentage of their income to Social Security as everyone else," the study states.
Richard Trumka, president of the national AFL-CIO, said, "Working people, jobless people and retirees, who just voted for a middle-class economy [in last month's presidential election], shouldn't have to sacrifice their health care and retirement security so that the richest 2 percent can continue getting more tax breaks.
"It's time to protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits that support our working families. It's time to eliminate tax breaks for the richest 2 percent. That's fair, reasonable, and good public policy."
Two weeks ago, the Economic Policy Institute released a statement, signed by more than 300 economists and social insurance experts, opposing efforts to reduce annual cost-of-living adjustments that increase Social Security benefits.
Based in Washington, EPI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank created in 1986 to broaden economic policy discussions to include the needs of low- and middle-income workers.
The oldest beneficiaries, who are often the poorest beneficiaries, and people who receive disability benefits for more than 20 years would see the largest cuts.
The EPI argues statistical analyses based on spending patterns by the general population, which are used to calculate COLAs, are likely to "understate the impact of cost increases faced by Social Security beneficiaries, because seniors and disabled people spend a greater share of their incomes on out-of-pocket medical expenses than do other consumers."
In recent decades, health costs have risen dramatically faster than overall inflation, the EPI adds.
Reforms advocated by the AFL-CIO study include reining in the costs of health-care growth, making the health-care system itself more cost-effective, promoting the rights of workers to bargain collectively for wages and benefits and moving manufacturing plants back to America.
Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjny...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.