Thursday, December 29, 2011

Just another program

Will we look back on 2011 as the year when we ended Social Security?  Washington Post: "Payroll tax cut raises worries about Social Security's future funding"
Since its inception under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Social Security program has been premised on a simple contract: Americans pay into the program’s trust fund over years of paychecks through the payroll tax. In return, when they retire, they receive monthly benefits.
The payroll tax cut changes that. Instead being a protected program with its own stream of funding, Social Security, by taking money from general revenue, becomes more akin to other government initiatives such as Pentagon spending or clean-air regulation — programs that rely on income taxes and political jockeying for support.
“All of a sudden Social Security will have to compete with every other program, whereas before it had its own dedicated revenue,” said Nancy Altman, co-director of Social Security Works, an advocacy group. “It’s breaking the kind of firewall that has always existed between the trust fund and the operating fund.”
For the record, Social Security Works has long taken the position (IMO) that benefits can never be cut and that any and all tax and policy changes should be made to prop up the system no matter what.  When they (and socialist Bernie Sanders) express reservations about this payroll tax switcheroo, you know there's something deeper afoot here.

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