Below is my rant/reply to posts by deficit scolds (and Krugman critics) on an alumni Linked in forum:
1. We paid higher payroll taxes for 30 years to create the SS surplus in the expectation that the boomers will need it. That surplus is still there in the form of Treasury Bonds.
It (along with ongoing contributions) will pay full benefits until about 2030 (according to the SS Trustees, using the most pessimistic growth projections). After that it will pay 75% through 2075. With a modest lift in the cap on the payroll tax (or e.g., FICA starting again after 250K) SS will pay 100% through the century.
2. If you cut benefits -- whether for current or future retirees -- you are essentially stealing the post-1986-present FICA taxes to repay the government for the Bush tax cuts and wars.
Also, you are eroding one of the greatest achievements of the New Deal -- the commitment that the elderly will be provided for and will not burden their children.
Are you telling me that current 35 year olds should have to retire later (even from manual or service labor) at the same time that hedge fund and PE billionaires are paying 20% (15% for that last 12 years) tax rates? That the Mitt Romneys of the world can parlay $30,000 per year IRA contributions into $100 million in 18 years, as just one example of tax advantages the very wealthy can manipulate?
Krugman does not say ignore the deficit. He says it is not the current highest priority.
So I agree with Jonathan that the payroll tax should not have been raised, and the middle class cuts should remain. Infrastructure should be massively funded right now, and teachers, fireman police should be rehired. Because all of these will stimulate the economy and lead to greater tax revenues. And they will ease the desperation of millions of young and old people without jobs. And they might prevent your car from falling off a broken bridge.If I'm going to compare (1) an inchoate concept like a "debt" or "deficit" that has actually declined in O's presidency as a % of GDP (with the deficit going down as an actual number); with (2) a hungry child or a chronically unemployed person or a rotting bridge, I know what choice I'm going to make.And this is not the "left" position. It is the Ike position. or actually to Ike's right.