Friday, December 10, 2010

The Obama/Republican tax deal's Social Security Phaseout feature

There are more pieces out focusing on the Social Security Phaseout provision in the tax cut deal Obama made with the Republicans on Monday, the "payroll tax holiday" that gives Social Security opponents a new angle to use in arguing against the program.

Dean Baker, The Obama Tax Deal: Giving the Hostage Takers More Hostages TPM Cafe 12/10/2010: "my greater concern is what happens to Social Security in this story. Effectively, this deal would give us a permanent two-percentage point reduction in the payroll tax in a Washington climate very hostile to Social Security." He explains:

The prospect of this tax cut being the basis for a renewed attack on Social Security could be dismissed if the program had defenders in high places, but this does not appear to be the case. Most of the Republicans would almost certainly like to privatize Social Security.

Unfortunately, the Obama administration cannot be counted on to defend the program either. In fact, top officials in the administration seem to view attacks on Social Security and its supporters as a way to prove their manhood. President Obama's decision to appoint two arch-enemies of Social Security to chair his Fiscal Responsibility commission certainly does not inspire confidence among supporters of Social Security. ...

Supporters of Social Security should reject the latest deal and tell President Obama to stand behind his own tax cut. This is what presidents are supposed to do. [my emphasis]
We now have a Democratic President who wants to phase out Social Security.

Paul Krugman, Obama’s Hostage Deal New York Times 12/09/2010: "One big concern: Republicans may try using the prospect of a rise in the payroll tax [after 2011 in Obama's tax deal] to undermine Social Security finances."

Julian Zelitzer, Obama is dealing away FDR's legacy Salon 12/10/2010

William Greider, Obama Threatens Social Security The Nation 12/09/2010:

The most dangerous feature in the president's proposed compromise on taxes is not the $700 billion tax cut for billionaires. It is the Trojan horse provision that threatens to destroy Social Security by undermining the longterm solvency of the social insurance system.
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