Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Payroll tax cuts rob Social Security to benefit the rich -

Payroll tax cuts rob Social Security to benefit the rich -

Make no mistake: This is a bipartisan effort. It started back in December, when President Obama capitulated to the GOP on a budget deal by cutting the payroll tax, which funds Social Security. Advocates for the program pointed out then the shortcomings of this approach: It was targeted inefficiently and unfairly, skewing to the upper middle class and hurting lower-income families in comparison with the Making Work Pay tax credit it replaced.

Even more troubling, it blew a hole in the financing mechanism for Social Security by reducing payroll tax revenue by roughly $110 billion for the year. It was plain then, as it is now, that once you've cut a tax, it's ever harder to restore it.

Putting Social Security's income stream on the negotiating table for the first time in more than half a century simply provided a new opportunity for attacks on the program's stability from those who would love to see it disappear — to be replaced, no doubt, by a privatized investment program that would profit Wall Street hucksters at the expense of everyone else.

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