Saturday, December 11, 2010

More attention to the attack on Social Security

In my post earlier this week I mentioned one of the real problems in Obama's tax capitulation: the payroll tax cut.

If you recall, one of the biggest victories we had during the Bush administration was the defeat of Bush's plan to kill off Social Security by privatizing it. Hint: aren't you glad the Social Security trust fund wasn't in the market at the time of the 2008 crash? It was a hard fight because the Republicans have opposed Social Security from FDR's time, but for decades Social Security was considered the third rail of American politics. Now it's lost that status, giving Republicans free rein to attack the most effective anti-poverty program in our history.

But why is Obama going over to their side and trying to undermine Social Security? And trying to convince us it's a good deal for working people?

Make no mistake, the proposed deal shortchanges Social Security by cutting the FICA tax. For years, Republicans have been attacking Social Security, mainly by claiming that it's about to run out of money. How does it make sense to make their argument by taking money out of the fund?

As this story on yesterday's All Things Considered points out, the plan is actually to replace the lost FICA money with general fund revenues. In my view that doesn't make it a better deal; if anything, it weakens the support that people have had for Social Security from the beginning. It's just a bad idea. Even if the deal had nothing else wrong with it, this in itself would be enough to say we should fight it.

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