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crocodile tears
Republicans are suddenly oh-so concerned about the long-term fiscal viability of Social Security. Here, via David Dayen, is one of them, Rep. David Schweikert:
Unlike other taxes, which go into the general fund after collection, revenue generated by the payroll tax goes directly toward financing Social Security.

Although the president's payroll tax holiday would keep an estimated $265 billion in American pockets, what must not be lost in this discussion is that these dollars will come directly from debt paid back by U.S. taxpayers because they are owed to the Social Security trust fund. [...]

This in turn increases the nation's debt because it eventually leads the Treasury to bail out the lost revenue in the Social Security trust fund.

Translation? This leads to generational theft.

Yes, payroll taxes do fund Social Security, and yes, the fear that this tax cut becoming permanent could undermine Social Security's long-term viability is causing serious heartburn among people who actually do care about keeping Social Security strong. That group does not include Congressional Republicans, like Rep. Jeffrey Landry (R-LA), who thinks middle-class workers should have to choose between having a little more money in their paychecks now, or having a little less in their Social Security checks in the future, allowing workers "to decide each year whether to receive the tax break, which would reduce the payroll tax rate from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent for employees," and pretty much effectively killing Social Security as we know it.

So whenever you hear a Republican concern trolling over Social Security, know it's not the survival of the program they're talking about. It's the fact that this payroll tax holiday is providing just a little bit of stimulus that has kept this economy limping along. And it's an attempt at a diversionary tactic so people stop talking about their opposition to a miniscule tax increase on the wealthy.

Their only motivations are keeping taxes low for rich people and wrecking the economy further in hopes of defeating President Obama and regaining the Senate next year.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Mon Dec 05, 2011 at 01:42 PM PST.

Also republished by Social Security Defenders and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (18+ / 0-)

    "There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning." —Warren Buffett

    by Joan McCarter on Mon Dec 05, 2011 at 01:42:23 PM PST

  •  And the language of the tax cut specifically (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, Losty, ferg, bamjack

    states that the money gets replaced each year from the general fund, IIRC.

    Which is why I'm cool with a (to use the talking point) responsible pay-for

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Mon Dec 05, 2011 at 01:47:34 PM PST

    •  But then it can say be said "YOU DID NOT (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Robobagpiper

      CONTRIBUTE TO IT COMPLETELY", therefore we can eliminate it.  Italy just had the US equivalent of the Secretary of HHS, say that the retirement program for the country would be defunded.  That was according to the Thom Hartmann show this afternoon on XM127 (3 pm EST).  Watch what is happening in Europe because we are now part of the global economy and it will soon be happening here.  

      Thus if the Government can get you to contribute less to Social Security - they can say it is an entitlement and cut it.  Plus just because they say they will make up the difference - doesn't mean they actually will make up the difference.  Anyway you look at it - they (Obama, the banks, wall street, and GOP) are trying to get rid of SS.  We are on a very slippery slope on social security.

    •  we can just replace the lost payroll (0+ / 0-)

      taxes by the lifting the cap. problem solved. income over 250k no longer exempted from payroll taxes. hows that republicans?

  •  Republicans are going to force us to adopt new (5+ / 0-)

    forms of old expressions. For example, "crying crocodile tears" should be updated to a newer cold blood creature like turtles or salamanders. And the old classic, "Robbing Peter to pay Paul" would be "Robbing Peter, Paul, Sally, Mark, Laura, Jacob, and Nancy to pay Exxon".

    Compassionate Conservatism is letting all the bridges collapse so you won't have to live under one after losing your home when they cut off your unemployment insurance.

    by ontheleftcoast on Mon Dec 05, 2011 at 01:48:36 PM PST

    •  Their concern trolling will only work if (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ontheleftcoast

      they are allowed to control the narrative. Preventing said control should be relativly easy.

       $1500.00 is approximatly two weeks pay for me. That's a number I can grasp. And, I'd be willing to bet, so can a lot of others.

       Keep this one simple.

      it tastes like burning...

      by eastvan on Mon Dec 05, 2011 at 05:33:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  They're right for the wrong reason (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pot, Robobagpiper

    “If you think I can be bought for five thousand dollars, I'm offended." Rick Perry.

    by Paleo on Mon Dec 05, 2011 at 02:04:06 PM PST

    •  No they are not (for any reason) other than lying. (7+ / 0-)

      There is a difference between the debt and the deficit.  Both Social Security & Medicare can and do contribute to the DEFICIT, but not the DEBT.

      These items should absolutely be off the table in these discussions because they really do NOT represent anything relevant.  Any attempt to delude the public otherwise is just that, delusional.

      Social Security and medicare BY LAW, cannot possibly contribute to the debt... so to lump them in with debt discussions is worse than apples and oranges.  They DO contribute to the deficit however, but the MANNER in which they do so is NEVER discussed or made clear.

      Any surplus from either of these programs is invested in SPECIFIC TYPES of TREASURY BONDS, available to no other part of the government.  BOTH represent INTRA-GOVERNMENTAL debt (not INTER-GOVER NMENTAL debt, which we owe to other countries).  These bonds, through a quirk of accounting, represent liabilities, because they are a future promise to pay.  They are bonds that are ALREADY BOUGHT & PAID FOR.  They represent a debt the same way your savings account (remember those?) represents a debt by the bank to pay you your money when it is demanded.  You have already paid for it, and in agreement for allowing the bank to use it to invest, you are paid interest.

      This is only a problem if the bank decides to take your money and lose it all at the roulette tables.  Either way, it's not YOUR problem, it's theirs.  This is why the government banks this surplus as bonds.  It keeps the surplus secure, and the owners of the surplus, namely the Social Security and Medicare recipients who are getting their own money back, know that the money to pay them will always be there.

      The deficit is the difference between the amount of money taken in by the government, (i.e., receipts) and what the government has to pay out, called OUTLAYS.  

      The money that is then borrowed by the Treasury to pay the government's bills, such as bonds sold to investors, along with the bonds sold to the government trust funds, the intra-governmental debt. All combine to become part of the NATIONAL DEBT.... which essentially represents ACCUMULATED DEFICITS.  

      It would NOT be a good thing to have NO DEFICITS at all because that would mean that the government trusts funds have NO SURPLUSES TO INVEST IN BONDS.  Roughly 18% of our current total debt is the result of the surpluses run by Social Security and Medicare at the present moment.

      Plugging tax loopholes on the other hand, is important to the discussion.  So is the repeal / expiration of the ruinous Bush tax cuts, the repeal of oil subsidies, subsidies to agribusine ss and the pharmaceutical industry.  

      The reason the rest of the world gets their medications at a reasonable rate for their people is because the pharmaceutical companies come back to the U.S., knowing that they can stick it to the American taxpayer to get the rest of the money they think they are due.  Hence we get one of the most boneheaded contracts EVER, "Medicare part D", in which the United States gave away 100000% of its bargaining power and agreed to pay the HIGHEST POSSIBLE RATE for covered medications, along with prohibiting the consumer from importing cheaper medications.  

      This was nothing but a blatant giveaway to the pharmaceutical companies and is one of the major reasons Medicare is now struggling financially.

      Medicare part D should have been called "Welfare for Pfizer".  It was set up specifically to milk that trust fund dry and give it away to big business.  It honestly has to be one of the most ridiculous frauds ever perpetrated on the American People.

      The core programs of Medicare as it was originally set up, cannot.  Like Social Security, it is a trust fund whose surplus is invested in BONDS.

      "I'm a study of a man in chaos in search of frenzy."

      by Sandy Berman on Mon Dec 05, 2011 at 05:41:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for the teach. Good stuff. And you (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joe wobblie

        are absolutely right about the give-away of bargaining power.  From what I understand, the Veterans Administration uses this power all the time to secure good prices; to keep medicare from doing he same is just bad business, unless you are trying to keep the drug companies happy.  And I'd be shocked, shocked if that was  the case when the law was drafted.

        Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. -Frank Zappa

        by TheGrandWazoo on Mon Dec 05, 2011 at 06:21:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Hmm no (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Robobagpiper

        The current $14 trillion in 'Public Debt' is split between $9 tn plus of 'Debt Held by the Public' and less than $5 tn of 'Intragovernmental Holdings' of which $2.6 trillion consists of the SpecialTreasuries in the Trust Fund.

        That is Trust Fund assets, real enough from the standpoint of Social Security DO score as a part of total Public Debt.

        What is true is that under law Social Security has no ability to BORROW from the PUBLIC and so add to the Sub-category 'Debt Held by the Public' but the Trust Fund is 'Public Debt' and also the nearly identical 'Debt Subject to the Limit'

        In normal circumstances this means that Social Security cannot contribute to the deficit, any gaps between income and projected cost being made up on the cost side via more or less automatic cuts. The payroll tax holiday threw a spanner into this.

        Also Social Security and Medicare have very different relations to the budget. All of Medicare Parts A-D are classified under law as 'on budget', including Part A which is financed via dedicated payroll tax (B and D being funded 75% by the general fund and 25% by enrollee premiums). As such Medicare can and does contribute to both deficits and debts as those terms are defined by OMB.

        On the other hand Social Security is under law defined as 'off budget'. A distinction that doesn't make much difference to any but Budget Committee and OMB staff.

        Anyway Part D is NOT funded out of the HI Trust Fund, the 'H' in HI standing for 'Hospital' I.e. Part A as opposed to Part B Physicians and Part D Drugs funded mostly like any other General Fund program.

        •  Hmmmm (0+ / 0-)

          You have no idea what you are talking about.

          "I'm a study of a man in chaos in search of frenzy."

          by Sandy Berman on Mon Dec 05, 2011 at 09:11:47 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sandy you might want to Google (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Robobagpiper

            'Bruce Webb Social Security'

            I have been commenting and blogging on Social Security since there was a blogosphere and am the Social Security blogger for top ten EconoBlog Angry Bear.

            This body of work got me invited to a policy list-serv that includes the top experts on the defense side of Social security, they certainly believe I know what I am talking about. Joan is also a member of the list-serv and has also followed my Social Security stuff here at AB.

            I am also the Founder and Admin of the Social Security Defenders Group here and if I do say so have pretty good local cred on this.

            A little research might serve you well here.

            •  BTW the first result on that search (0+ / 0-)

              Just now came up with Krugman's Jan 15 column citing my name in the first sentence and linking back to one of my Angry Bear posts.

              If I had to choose whose opinion I valued I doubt yours would meet the cut.

          •  Physician, heal thyself. (0+ / 0-)

            Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

            by Robobagpiper on Tue Dec 06, 2011 at 03:01:09 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  I am not sure that there motivation is what you (0+ / 0-)

    The goal is not to bring your adversaries to their knees but to their senses. -- Mahatma Gandhi

    by Mindmover on Mon Dec 05, 2011 at 02:23:32 PM PST

  •  I would have been much happier if the (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    0wn, hester, angstall, opinionated

    Democrats were actually concerned in the first place - for the correct reasons.

  •  I'm concerned about the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marty marty, Robobagpiper

    survival of the program.  

    Less concerned about the concern trolling....

    Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity. @DavidKaib

    by David Kaib on Mon Dec 05, 2011 at 05:19:49 PM PST

  •  It's not like I care (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Robobagpiper

    I don't have a job and can't find one so at the moment paying SS taxes or any other taxes is not really on my radar. All these tax breaks don't help me one bit.

  •  Sounds more like you are a mouthpiece: (0+ / 0-)

    for the corporate Democrats.  Cutting the funds to social security is nothing more then a backdoor way to defund the program and turn it into a welfare program, making it easier to kill in the future!

    I assume it takes one (troll) to know one?  Obama and today's corporate Democrats are not to be trusted with FDR's New Deal.

    "everybody in, Nobody out"

    by vector56 on Mon Dec 05, 2011 at 05:27:24 PM PST

    •  muahahahahahaha! (0+ / 0-)

      you figured out our scheme!  i must ask.  HOW did you do it?  we were so careful to NEVER tell anyone.  we were so careful to ALWAYS say that it's just a temp way to get relief to the middle class since the house is controlled by the GOP.  somehow you got into our minds and read them.  amazing.  simply amazing.

      we are living on a tiny little speck of a rock somewhere in an infinite universe and the only thing any of us know for sure is that we have each other. i can't imagine how we shouldn't be holding on to each other for dear life.

      by Anton Bursch on Mon Dec 05, 2011 at 05:30:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sarcasm aside (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Robobagpiper

        you guys are not that complicated.  Cutting the funding to social security and using a general fund to pretend to compensate (turning it into a welfare program) has been the basic formula to destroy the New Deal for about 50 years.

        We are not that gullible!

        once taxes are cut, they usually remain that way.  Now the talk in the Senate is sun setting the social security "holiday pay roll tax" cuts in 10 years.  

        "everybody in, Nobody out"

        by vector56 on Mon Dec 05, 2011 at 05:50:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  fantasies aside. i was joking with you. (0+ / 0-)

          and yes, you are gullible.  you believe anything you say.

          we are living on a tiny little speck of a rock somewhere in an infinite universe and the only thing any of us know for sure is that we have each other. i can't imagine how we shouldn't be holding on to each other for dear life.

          by Anton Bursch on Mon Dec 05, 2011 at 07:11:50 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Anton put a sock in it (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bamjack, Robobagpiper

            Some of the top policy people on the defense side of Social Security including Nancy Altman and Dean Baker explicitly raided this same red flag back when the payroll tax holiday was first implemented.

            Vector is right on this and you are just being a dick. Again.

            The payroll tax holiday was a shitty idea, particularly as it was partially funded by eliminating the Making Work Pay program actually targeted to the working poor. In fact the cross the board payroll tax holiday actually increased net taxes for millions of working Americans at the lower end of the income spectrum while giving tax cuts to the 60-85% of income level folk who realistically didn't need the money nearly as much.

            Basically the whole thing was a Third Way pander to the upper middle class at the expense of the working class. That said this may not be the right time to try to fix the imbalance, between the Republicans and the Rubinista Corporatists that surround Obama those guys coud screw up a wet dream.

            •  Vector is not right and you can go fuck yourself. (0+ / 0-)

              The payroll tax holiday is not a fucking conspiracy to undermine SS.  That was Vector's claim.  There is ZERO proof of that claim.  I am not being a dick for mocking a conspiracy theory on Daily Kos.  It's a banning offense to spread a conspiracy theory on Daily Kos.  Which is what Vector is doing.  

              You guys are off your rockers sometimes.  Seriously.  You're as out there as the birthers.  

              we are living on a tiny little speck of a rock somewhere in an infinite universe and the only thing any of us know for sure is that we have each other. i can't imagine how we shouldn't be holding on to each other for dear life.

              by Anton Bursch on Mon Dec 05, 2011 at 10:25:30 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  the 'go fuck yourself' was for calling me a dick (0+ / 0-)

              we are living on a tiny little speck of a rock somewhere in an infinite universe and the only thing any of us know for sure is that we have each other. i can't imagine how we shouldn't be holding on to each other for dear life.

              by Anton Bursch on Mon Dec 05, 2011 at 10:26:08 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  And this is precisely why - before our Dems (0+ / 0-)

          adopted their ideologies, the 90s Republicans long advocated payroll tax holidays.

          Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

          by Robobagpiper on Tue Dec 06, 2011 at 03:05:44 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  ad hominem = warning (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Robobagpiper

      If you don't like a poster, put them on Ignore. Calling someone a troll does not refute an argument, nor is it called for in this thread. If you disagree with something specifically that this poster has typed- please address it specifically.

      Above Grecian mantles were chiseled these words... Know Thyself... Nothing in Excess... the pop philosophy of its day.

      by ravagerofworlds2 on Mon Dec 05, 2011 at 05:38:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Oy, raise the cap already. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Anna M, hester, marty marty

    Really simple fix, and not unfair.
    Crazy this is controversial.

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." -Benjamin Franklin

    by hotdamn on Mon Dec 05, 2011 at 05:31:31 PM PST

    •  Yes (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hotdamn

      I don't understand why the Dems are proposing a "Millionaire Surcharge" tax.  They should just propose that the millionaires should pay the same percent of Social Security and Medicare tax as the rest of us.  Presto!  After the payroll cap has been removed, the Dems can even offer millionaires and billionaires the same "payroll tax reduction" as everyone else, so they would get a tax cut too :)

  •  I thought we all knew the General Fund.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    opinionated

    ... was being used to make that Social Security payment?

    The Republicans, as always, are twisting into contortions because they can't figure out if they want America to Fail or Social Security to Fail. One is a short term goal (2012 elections) and the other is a long term goal (and they've been plugging at it since forever).

    Just watch- Republicans will figure out a way to have their cake and eat your cake too, and usually, with dim-witted Democrats helping them out.

    Above Grecian mantles were chiseled these words... Know Thyself... Nothing in Excess... the pop philosophy of its day.

    by ravagerofworlds2 on Mon Dec 05, 2011 at 05:31:35 PM PST

  •  Call their bluff on this one... (0+ / 0-)

    If Republicans really want to raise taxes on the poor and middle-class next year I say let them do it. Let them explain that one to voters in 2012.

    •  The Congressional Dems don't call bluffs. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hester

      They grab their ankles and apologize.

      It's The SCOTUS, Stupid!

      by kitebro on Mon Dec 05, 2011 at 06:04:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  A nice thought. (0+ / 0-)

      But for an issue to become "political" it takes a willing and halfway coherent alternative.

      Powerful Dems are more accustomed to providing essential CYA to the Republicans than even meager opposition.  

      Don't hold your breath waiting for politics to happen.

      Partisanship is not the heart of politics.  Partisanship is the abdication of politics.

  •  A reality check for those all too willing to sprea (6+ / 0-)

    Myth #1: “Social Security is going broke”.
 


    Reality:
 
There is NO Social Security crisis. 
 
By 2023, Social Security will have a $4.6 trillion surplus (yes, trillion with a 'T').  It can pay out all scheduled benefits for the next quarter-century with no changes whatsoever.
 
After 2037, it'll still be able to pay out 75% of scheduled benefits—and again, that's without any changes. The program started preparing for the Baby Boomers' retirement decades ago.
 


    Anyone who insists Social Security is broke probably wants to break it themselves.  

 


    Myth #2: “We have to raise the retirement age because people are living longer”.
 


    Reality:
 
This is a red-herring to trick you into agreeing to benefit cuts.
 


    Retirees are living about the same amount of time as they were in the 1930s. The reason average life expectancy is higher is mostly because many fewer people dìe as children than they did 70 years ago.
 


    What's more, what gains there have been are distributed very unevenly—since 1972, life expectancy increased by 6.5 years for workers in the top half of the income brackets, but by less than 2 years for those in the bottom half.
 
But those intent on cutting Social Security love this argument because raising the retirement age is the same as an across-the-board benefit cut.

    Myth #3: “Benefit cuts are the only way to fix Social Security”.
 


    Reality:
 
Social Security doesn't need to be fixed, if we want to strengthen it, here's a better way: Make the rich pay their fair share. 

    If the very rich paid taxes on all of their income, Social Security would be sustainable for decades to come.




    Right now, high earners only pay Social Security taxes on the first $106,000 of their income, but conservatives insist benefit cuts are the only way because they want to protect the super-rich from paying their fair share..

 


    Myth #4: “The Social Security Trust Fund has been raided and is full of IOUs”.
 


    Reality:
 
Not even close to true.
 


    The Social Security Trust Fund isn't full of IOUs, it's full of U.S. TREASURY BONDS AVAILABLE ONLY to the Social Security TRUST to purchase. .. (and no matter HOW many insist that they are the “same thing”.. they’re NOT).  And those bonds are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States.
 


    The reason Social Security holds only treasury bonds is the same reason many Americans do: The federal government has never missed a single interest payment on its debts.

    President Bush wanted to put Social Security funds in the stock market—which would have been disastrous—but luckily, he failed. So the trillions of dollars in the Social Security Trust Fund, which are separate from the regular budget, are as safe as can be.
 
 
 


    Myth #5: “Social Security adds to the deficit”. 
 


    Reality: 
 
It's not just wrong—it's impossible! 
 


    By law, Social Security's funds are separate from the budget, and it must pay its own way.

    That means that Social Security can't add one penny to the deficit.

    "I'm a study of a man in chaos in search of frenzy."

    by Sandy Berman on Mon Dec 05, 2011 at 05:39:31 PM PST

  •  The stimulus effect of this is negligible (0+ / 0-)

    as is the spending money it puts in the pocket (about $2.00 a day for the median full-time worker).  It makes me wonder why then the administration and the Dem Party have gone to the full-court press to ram this thing through.  

    If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing. ~Malcolm X

    by ActivistGuy on Mon Dec 05, 2011 at 05:40:40 PM PST

    •  hmm (0+ / 0-)

      Well, I'm personally quite concerned about the precedent set by cutting payroll taxes and using alternative funding for SS.  So I'm not saying whether the tax cut is good or bad.

      Without checking your numbers I will say that $2 per day, per worker, in aggregate spending (because the people getting it aren't saving it all)... it would be hard to argue that was not having SOME kind of positive effect on the economy and that taking it out would not have a negative effect.  There's no question the global economy is fragile right now right?

      The question isn't why is the administration doing a full court press on this issue, it's why isn't the administration doing a full court press on stimulating demand.  Cutting spending is counter-productive and yet it's the global reaction pushing us farther down the spiral.  Governments should prepare plans for short term spending with long term deficit reduction.  Break the spiral, return to growth, THEN fix the deficit.

      •  In the context of a failing (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dirtfarmer

        Reagan REvolution and the disaster that conservative/neo-liberal thought and policy has wrought nationally and around the world, the best defense is a good offense, no matter how dumbass and brittle.  No matter how the people turn away.

        Dems (and apologists) just want to be part of that great, spasm of reaction.  Who can fault them?  It's how they (and their apologists) earn the Big-Boy Pants(tm).  

        The timing is impeccable.

        PLease don't feed the security state.

      •  $2 a day over the course of a year (0+ / 0-)

        Adds up to a whole month of rent money for many millions of Americans.

        Hardly 'negligible' for people who live paycheck to paycheck and may need that $60 a month to keep the power on.

        •  The people who are getting that $60/month (0+ / 0-)

          are slightly above-median income households who are getting by, and this stimulus can easily disappear into normal price fluctuations.

          People who aren't getting by with what they earn are getting maybe $20 back a month, which isn't enough to make a difference.

          People who are unemployed are getting nothing, which is the real problem.

          Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

          by Robobagpiper on Tue Dec 06, 2011 at 03:12:16 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  The problem with $2 a day (or $50 a paycheck) (0+ / 0-)

        is that it disappears into normal price fluctuations.

        If you want to help people, and unspin pent-up demand, send them a $1000 check (but even there, much of it goes into debt relief, rather than new spending).

        Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

        by Robobagpiper on Tue Dec 06, 2011 at 03:08:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  i don't care for that approach either (0+ / 0-)

          Because it allows for undirected consumer spending.  It would probably provide a temporary boost but no long term gain.

          The right prescription is heavy government investment in infrastructure projects, to generate employment AND to get some long term returns.  Infrastructure breeds private commerce.

          •  I agree - giving people with jobs, when the (0+ / 0-)

            real unemployment is 16% or so, 2% of their income, either spread out or in a lump, is weak stimulus, when you could be putting some of those people to work.

            Indeed, instead of a 2.5% payroll tax cut, the same dollars could be give jobs to just under 3% of the workforce, with about the same distribution of income as the overall workforce.

            Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

            by Robobagpiper on Tue Dec 06, 2011 at 10:32:15 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Wonderful post Ms M. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bamjack

    Succinct and thought provoking. That's really a kind of rarity.

    We Will NOT Compromise On Fairness.

    by franklyn on Mon Dec 05, 2011 at 05:52:45 PM PST

  •  By any name, coming from the GOP, compassion (0+ / 0-)

    ... and compassionate conservatism Does. Not. Exist. There is no rose in that garden.

    Let the poor and middle class eat cake.

    Obama and strong Democratic majorities in 2012!

    by TRPChicago on Mon Dec 05, 2011 at 05:59:47 PM PST

  •  I don't believe Rep concern for a min, but isn't (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joe wobblie, KenBee, Robobagpiper

    there a little truth to what they are saying? Before the banana creams start flying in the pie fight,  is it possible this blind squirrel found a nut?

    Everyone knows that Social Security is a third rail in American politics, and the Republican have seen themselves on the loosing end of the argument lately.  I have to wonder if they are making a valid policy point while faking being concerned.

    In any case, the real fight shouldn't be over penny-ante crap like this, it should be over the massive imbalances in the tax code that allow those with the most to pay the least.

    We're all familiar with Frank Luntz, the genius Republican wordsmith who frames issues to his side's advantage.  We have our own: George Lakoff, who encourages us to call taxes what they really are: dues.

    99% of this country pays its dues so that services will be provided and posterity protected. If the 1% can pay dues to to their country clubs, they can pay dues to their country.

    Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. -Frank Zappa

    by TheGrandWazoo on Mon Dec 05, 2011 at 06:13:48 PM PST

  •  umm yeah but ... (0+ / 0-)

    i could argue that the payroll taxes being cut increases spending which increases economic activity.  if you have more economic activity, you have more jobs and therefore more payroll tax.  hmmm, this sounds awfully familiar.  tax cuts pay for themselves ... I think I heard that one before ... I think it was from ... Republicans!  Brilliant.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Mon Dec 05, 2011 at 06:38:46 PM PST

  •  I Want a Raise (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dirtfarmer, Robobagpiper

    I'm much less concerned with any tax cut than I am with better income. Taxes are not too high. Incomes are too low. What we need is to trade the SS tax cut for an increase in the minimum wage.

    Every dollar increase in the minimum wage represents hundreds of millions of dollars going into the trust fund because 15% (roughly) of those extra dollars would go to payroll taxes.

    I don't know why Obama went with a tax cut instead of a wage increase. One plays into Republican talking points while the other makes a permanent increase in the economy.

    He ought to have read the Social Security frame before he did anything with Social Security.

  •  I wish they would call this what it is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Robobagpiper

    a tax holiday, because the more we frame it as a tax cut, or that letting it expire is raising taxes on the middle class, the harder it will be to keep this from becoming permanent.  It is a temporary fix, a method of stimulus that used the mechanism of social security to put money in the pockets of the middle and lower classes.

    I refuse to believe corporations are people until Texas executes one

    by k8dd8d on Mon Dec 05, 2011 at 06:56:02 PM PST

    •  That's the problem with every tax "holiday", (0+ / 0-)

      especially when both parties are run by starve-the-beast anti-government neoliberal trolls.

      Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

      by Robobagpiper on Tue Dec 06, 2011 at 03:13:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hoocoodanode? (0+ / 0-)

    All of us who suspected the selection of this specific tax cut are vindicated.  Absent is any kind of defense of the payroll tax from POTUS.  Just another "chip" to bargain away.  Make room for grandma.

  •  So both Republicans and the President (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Robobagpiper

    are on the side of undermining Social Security?

    That's what it sounds like to me.

    Don't try to shift the blame for this to the Repugs because that just doesn't cut it IMHO.

    Honesty pays, but it doesn't seem to pay enough to suit some people. Kin Hubbard

    by Mr Robert on Mon Dec 05, 2011 at 08:15:04 PM PST

  •  Excellent diary on difficult subject (0+ / 0-)

    I think we all know this is not an ideal situation. I don't disagree with Bruce Webb's position. The slope is a bit slippery.

    But Joan is dead right that a trickle here or there is about all that keeps the economy going. Maybe there's also an object less here.

    Social Security Trust Funds were (legally) borrowed to pay for government expenses during the incredibly profligate Bush Administration and its Bush Wars. In simple terms, that means that the Middle Class, those with $100,0000 income or less in effect financed damn near the whole mess while the very rich got big tax cuts.

    Now that they've dug us into a deep pit of mismanagement, Republicans want to come back to the same middle class and ask them to in effect lend them another few trillion dollars to cover the debt incurred by the Rich People who made money by stealing money through DOD contracts etc.

    What a miserable disaster they're inflicting. And by getting this relatively small tax cut, wise or not, the middle class is in effect stimulating the economy which will, if we're lucky, benefit their peers. But as usual, the upper 1% will profit more than anyone.

    •  It's not true to say "Social Security trust funds (0+ / 0-)

      were borrowed to pay for X". Social Security trust funds were borrowed because SS ran a surplus and invested that surplus in treasury bonds.

      Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

      by Robobagpiper on Tue Dec 06, 2011 at 03:15:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Except, that no taxes were levied to pay back (0+ / 0-)

        the loan which financed the post 9/11 wars, thus running up the deficit that the GOP is crying those turtle-tears about. So, these fund were borrowed to pay for these wars, with the deliberate intent of causing fiscal problems down the line and giving the GOP an opportunity to go hysterical about the deficit.

        •  No loan financed anything in particular (0+ / 0-)

          No matter how many times it's repeated.

          SS would have loaned general government that money no matter how it would be ultimately spent; no matter how much more of a deficit general government would have borrowed from non-SS treasuries.

          Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

          by Robobagpiper on Wed Dec 07, 2011 at 10:05:11 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  It can't be a conspiracy if (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    splashoil

    it is happening  in "real time".  Remember the housing bubble?  Greenspand and Old Ronny "Ray-Gun" kept wages flat for the last 30 years. While doing this NAFTA and the WTO shipped millions of manufacturing jobs over seas.  So, what's a corporation to do when cheap labor produces all these "surplus goods" and no one has the money to buy them (flat wages)?  You "bleed" out the built up wealth (equity) in their homes. Use your home like an ATM, and "go shopping!"  

    That scheme worked for awhile, but like most facades it collapsed.  Now, because all the variables remain the same (NAFTA and WTO); Trillions pissed away to the banks, something else needs to be done to allow us to buy their surplus goods produced by cheap over seas labor. Raising wages is out of the question! So, now they dupe us into spending our "retirement" to put a little cash in our pockets just in time to go "Christmas Shopping!"  

    "everybody in, Nobody out"

    by vector56 on Tue Dec 06, 2011 at 04:13:10 AM PST

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