It's quite easy to sit here and watch the GOP implosion over the extension of the payroll tax cut and laugh at the carnage. I mean who doesn't enjoy watching Boehner get rolled by his Tea Party caucus? But in the middle of all of this House disarray over extending this tax cut, it seems prudent to ask, did the conservatives really win this ideological battle?
I'm pretty sure at the time of original payroll tax cut proposal, many people from the progressive side voiced concerns over taking away some of the revenue stream for social security - one of the pillars of the social safety net, the one responsible for making sure fewer seniors have been devastated by the current recession. The argument went and still goes something like this - once you cut taxes, it's almost impossible to raise them again. And so we can look at that original payroll tax rate reduction as a first volley in making social security less secure. That was the progressive argument against the original cut balanced against the need to put money in people's pockets to help keep the economy from crashing.
And so now here we are a year later and we're fighting over keeping this cut for another year. This time, it's the GOP on the hook for letting it expire (although the really won't) and it's the Democrats arguing to keep it. Democrats arguing to keep something that in the end will partially undermine one of the tenets of the Democratic party - social security.
So I ask, who's really winning here?