Great Jobs Plan. Very Cool.

Liberal Democrats fear payroll-tax holiday will undermine Social Security:
Liberal lawmakers in both chambers are hammering the Obama administration for pushing a payroll-tax holiday they say threatens Social Security.

The lawmakers fear Obama's proposed 2012 payroll-tax break — included as part of his newly released jobs package — could become permanent, stealing from Social Security's lone funding stream and eventually eroding senior benefits.

"Over a period of years — if you do it one year, and then you do it two years, and then you do it three years — then it becomes permanent," Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told reporters Wednesday in the Capitol. "And somebody's going to say that if you don't do it, then you're raising taxes."

Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) sounded a similar warning, noting that the loss of revenue created by the payroll-tax holiday makes Social Security necessarily reliant on general funds. That, in turn, makes the program much more susceptible to cuts, he added, particularly in a political environment in which deficit reduction has become a top priority.

"Suddenly, someone will say, 'Wait a minute, we can't afford to subsidize this thing anymore,' and the Republicans will say, 'Well, you can't raise the tax,'" DeFazio said.

...Meanwhile, Obama has adopted the popular GOP argument that allowing a tax cut to expire constitutes a tax hike — a message he delivered last week in challenging Republicans to support his payroll-tax cut.

"If we allow that tax cut to expire — if we refuse to act — middle-class families will get hit with a tax increase at the worst possible time," Obama said last Thursday night in his address to a joint session of Congress. "We can't let that happen."

The odd dynamics weren't lost on DeFazio.

"A little ironic, isn't it?" DeFazio said. "What he's done is create the [question] of, 'What do we do after that?'

"If this becomes permanent, then Social Security would be exhausted in 2021, instead of 2037. Now, that's a big problem."
Honestly, at this point, I'm not sure that a Republican president would have been more successful at advancing a Republican fiscal agenda and more deeply entrenching Republican fiscal memes than Obama has been.

That he's staring down a real unemployment rate of about 16%, wage stagnation, a foreclosure crisis, the highest poverty rate in half a century, etc. and his jobs plan consists of tax cuts that will undermine the social safety net, is manifestly absurd. It's frankly no wonder that Sen. Harry Reid is refusing to prioritize the president's proposed legislation. That may be the smartest thing he's ever done as Senate Majority Leader.

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus