Member of the reality-based community of progressive (not anonymous) Massachusetts blogs
Obama just lost us Social Security.
That’s what they could say ten years from now when the Republicans have dismantled the program like they have been trying to do for over 70 years. What the wingers couldn’t do for all that time, Obama has done for them. He has truly begun the undermining of this popular “third rail” of American politics. Republicans are salivating over the battle. Via FireDogLake, HuffPo’s Ryan Grim got Republican leaders on the record saying exactly what you’d expect them to say (bold mine):
Republicans acknowledged that the expiration of the tax holiday will be treated as a tax increase. “Once something like this goes into place, a year from now, when it expires, it’ll be portrayed as a tax increase,” said Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.). So in a body like Congress, precedents matter and this is setting a precedent. I think that certainly is going to create some problems down the road if it passes.”
Given that Congress, under Democratic control, can’t gather itself to let tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans expire, members of both parties are convinced that letting the payroll tax rate revert back to its current spot will be near impossible.
“Once you bring a rate down, if it goes back up, people will feel that. They’ll feel their paycheck being less and that argument” — that letting it expire amounts to a tax hike — “eventually is bound to be made,” said Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.).
“There’s always a tendency to continue those things… Once something comes in, it’s very difficult to change it,” said Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio.) He then volunteered, without prompting, that “It would be detrimental to the Social Security system, especially when it’s in bad shape.”
We all know this is going to be the way it goes down. There will be a one year extension next year, since the political season’ll be heating up, and then another, and another, maybe longer one. One way or the other, the FICA tax cut will be permanent. Then comes the SS and Medicare “crisis” that this will create. Republicans will say that since neither is solvent any longer, benefits will have to be cut, the age of SS will have to go up, less will have to be paid out. This is, of course, right as the Baby Boomers are retiring, making it even more dire.
There’s an easy answer to this of course. Make the FICA tax cut permanent, but raise the ceiling of wages that FICA affects to $200K, or $250K. But this will not happen, because it should have happened several times already, and Democrats are effing wusses and can’t get it done, even with big majorities in Congress and the White House.
So, kiss your retirement plans goodbye, my friends. Forget about having quality health care in your later years and certainly, don’t rely on Democrats to save your ass, either.
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