Teabagger/Republican candidate for Senate in CT, Linda McMahon recently made the following statement on Social Security:
Question: Do you believe that Social Security and Medicare are in financial trouble, and if so, what would you do to strengthen them?
McMahon: Well they clearly are in trouble. We know that they're not sustainable at their current rate. There are a lot of ways that we could look at strengthening Social Security. I do think that we're going to have to do it in a bipartisan way. There are suggestions on the table, you know, that range from raising the retirement age, you know, to other methods, to means testing, to other things. And I think that we're going to have to do that in a bipartisan fashion in Congress. We cannot continue doing things the way we are doing with Social Security. We're just simply going to be bankrupt.
And I do believe that, that there are ways to look at, you know, what we're trying to do when we put Social Security in place? We didn't go back and review it. In other words, I believe in sunset provisions when we pass this kind of legislation, so that you take a look at it 10, 15 years down the road to make sure that it's still going to fund itself. Social Security will run out of money if we continue to do what we're doing, if we rob the trust fund, if we think that there's any money there -- there's not. But there are, there certainly are (inaudible) securities, banks, backed by the federal government.
However, Medicare is again going to go bankrupt if we don't change it. There've been recommendations of block grants, of our seniors looking at choosing what kinds of plans that they want. But I can tell you one thing I would not do, I would not vote on any rule or law that would take away the benefits that our seniors have today or those that are approaching retirement age. Because they're there, they're counting on those benefits. We have to find another way to pay for it other than impacting our seniors today, and I would not vote for anything that would do that.
Her remarks have something in common with every other Republican's remarks on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid - the only solution she sees or any Republican sees is to reduce benefits and/or beneficiaries. That's it. These programs are in fiscal trouble SOLELY because they pay out too much, therefore, the ONLY solution to the problem is to curtail them, if not end them outright.
These programs are in fiscal trouble, but why is it that NO Republican (and sadly, many Democrats) looks at a solution focused on revenue? The payroll tax is the most regressive tax in the entire Federal taxation system, perhaps in the country. There are two very quick fixes which would both increase revenue to these programs and likely make them fiscally sound for a couple of generations. First, remove the cap on income subject to payroll taxation. Second, subject all income, earned and unearned, to the tax. Why do we not hear more discussion about this approach?