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Don't feed the beast
November 06th 10:07:06 PM

The American Spectator had a good piece Monday that addressed some of the current perspectives about Social Security reform.  The op-ed begins:

Throw away the lock box. Ignore the blue-ribbon commissions. Don't save Social Security. As the baby boomers age, the new liberal mantra concerning FDR's retirement program may be summed up in a single sentence: The system ain't broke, so don't fix it.

W. James Antle III, the writer of the article, goes on to point out that raising the payroll tax accomplishes nothing if the trust fund is not protected.  In so doing, Antle touches on the argument made by some -- including LA Times journalist Michael Hiltzik, who published an entire book based on his shoddy critique of Social Security reform -- that conservatives want to increase cash flow into the trust fund in order to reduce income taxes.

The problem with this argument is, as Antle explains:

[I]t isn't right-wingers who want to stuff the trust fund with more IOUs and more payroll-tax revenues. Typically, the culprits are liberals...Obama suggested raising the cap on earnings subject to payroll taxes, which now stands at $97,500. His rival John Edwards has recommended levying that tax on workers earning more than $200,000.

In other words, many of the Democratic candidates are suggesting that we pour more money into the trust fund but that we continue to raid the fund every year.  Talk about a noticeable step backward from the  lock box days.

I wonder: What is Hiltzik's explanation for this?  And how can anyone believe that creating a surplus through an increase in payroll taxes will do any long-term good if the trust fund is not protected? 

Posted by Ryan Lynch


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