Thursday, December 09, 2004

Read his lips: no new Social Security taxes

Now that new taxes have been ruled out to help pay for individual accounts, the only remaining way to pay for them is through benefit cuts. We are told by proponents of the change that the Admnistration's plan will eliminate Social Security's estimated $10 trillion long-term revenue shortfall. We are also told that trillions of dollars in payroll taxes will be redirected to individual accounts over the next few decades. Sounds like an awful lot of benefit cuts would have to be proposed - far more than one can imagine the Administration proposing in a sensitive political environment.
Keep in mind that this is not being billed as a full switch to individual accounts even for younger workers. So the plan is not to eliminate their traditional benefits, and certainly not to admit (or let it be persuasively argued) that they are paying for the transition.
People on the left are convinced that the plan is to destroy Social Security and shred the safety net. Frankly, that might be better than what I suspect is the actual plan, which is to recapitulate the Medicare "reform" by promising more free lunches and further endangering the US government's fiscal position.

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