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View Diary: The middle-class tax hike Republicans are arguing for (47 comments)

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  •  Lesser evil? (0+ / 0-)

    The teabaggers' hostage-taking succeeded in forcing us to give up something.  So what's on the table?  Medicaiid cuts?  That would hurt the poor and elderly very deeply and would undermine Obamacare.  Medicare cuts?  Some are already in the works; there's room to economize in health care, but raising the age is a lose-lose in so many ways that the mind boggles.  Removal of middle-class tax deductions?  That was Romney's plan, a huge transfer of wealth out of blue states and from the merely-affluent (but working) to the very rich (and probably idle).

    Chained CPI is a small cut made over time.  It has no drastic impact on anyone, just a little from a lot of people.  And at a macroeconomic level, a downward tweak in benefits could result in slightly lower prices charged to older people for things like senior housing, simply because the market price reflects available money. So while it's not good, it's not catastrophic.

    Plus, because it's a slow change, there will be time to fix it if we ever get back control of Congress.  The tax impact can be tweaked via bracket adjustments. Slashes such as an age change to Medicare will be harder to fix.

    So while I don't like it (and I'm less than a decade away from being on Social Security myself), I see chained CPI as the least evil concession that we can make in exchange for higher taxes on the wealthy.

    I also hope that the low rates for dividends are allowed to expire -- talk about a gift to the rich!  Before Bush, those were regular income.  Now they're not even in the brackets, so a coupon-clipping billionaire pays just 15%.

    •  I actually think the least evil "solution" (0+ / 0-)

      is with means testing--and as I've learned to specify--a sliding scale means test that gently reduces benefits in higher income brackets but doesn't eliminate the benefit.  

      First, since the payment formula for SS is already a sliding scale formula, this can be adjusted.  

      Second, eliminating the cap won't happen by itself (why should I have to pay more but get nothing more is the constant reply), but if the cap is eliminated and the top payment rate increased, but means tested--sliding scale--according to overall income, then conservatives have less of an issue regarding payment relative to benefit.    

      •  But everyone hates Welfare (0+ / 0-)

        Means testing converts them from prepaid benefit programs, which everyone pays into when they're working, to a form of Welfare.  That changes them from a political third rail (don't touch them) to a political whipping boy.  Welfare benefits get "reformed", and cut, routinely.  It completely changes the program's political dynamics.  So we can't go there.  Better that a few rich folks collect a little that they don't need than the rest of us be tarred as welfare recipients.

        •  I've heard this but I don't buy it. (0+ / 0-)

          Convince me.

          As I see it, if benefits still occur for all, it is not welfare.  If one guy gets 100% of potential benefits but another guy making $1M per gets only 50%, he has no welfare argument and the difference of another $1250 or so per month is not going to effect this person and the public will agree.      

          Something will change in social security. That is a fact. I don't like raising the age.  I don't like trimming benefits to the most needy.  This, a sliding scale means test, from my perspective, is the least harmful.  

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