Saturday, December 10, 2016

Time To Cut The Nets

Republicans aren't stupid enough to cut Social Security, are they?  After all, the average Trump voter is on the older end of the scale of the American electorate and the oldest Boomers will be 72 starting next year, with millions retiring over the next four years of the Trump administration.  The famous Tip O'Neill political adage that "Social Security is the third rail of American politics, you touch it and die" still has to apply in the Trump era, right?

Funny story about Republicans, to "save" things they like to burn them down.

Amid all the hand-wringing over Republican plans to eviscerate Medicare and Medicaid and repeal the Affordable Care Act, it shouldn’t be overlooked that the GOP has the knives out for Social Security too. 
The latest reminder comes from Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Tex., chairman of the Ways and Means Social Security subcommittee. Johnson on Thursday uncorked what he termed a “plan to permanently save Social Security.”

Followers of GOP habits won’t be surprised to learn that it achieves this goal entirely through benefit cuts, without a dime of new revenues such as higher payroll taxes on the wealthy. in fact, Johnson’s plan reduces the resources coming into the program by eliminating a key tax --another way that he absolves richer Americans of paying their fair share, while increasing the burdens of retirement for almost everyone else.

Predictably, this plan has already been hailed by the Committee for a Responsible Budget, a billionaire’s front group that likes to portray itself as a neutral budget watchdog. (The foundation of hedge fund billionaire Peter G. Peterson, whose hostility to Social Security is well-documented, provided $3.3 million in funding for the committee in 2015; that’s the equivalent of about half the group’s revenue of $7.1 million in 2014)

Johnson's bill is a disaster, and while it does cut benefits modestly for the wealthiest Americans, the massive SS payroll tax cuts on top earners would more than make up for it.  The people who get screwed the most? Gen Xers and older Millennials like myself as the plan would push the retirement age up to 69 for anyone under 50 right now, and we would receive significantly fewer benefits due to cost-of-living adjustments.

Johnson's bill also makes it easier to work for more than 35 years and accrue benefits up to 72 (The Wal-Mart greeter clause!) but harshly cuts benefits for people who haven't put in 35 years of taxable work (you know, like women who have left the work force to have families, grad/post-grad students who may not get started working until their 30's etc.) when they retire.

The big giveaway is the bait-and-switch on the benefit cuts for the richest Americans.  Instead, they'll make a boatload on lower taxes, particularly the wealthiest folks.  They'll try to sell this as "means-testing" to make sure "people who don't need benefits aren't getting the most" but it's a complete scam: the tax savings the richest Americans will get out of this guarantees they'll be the ones winning.

Oh and one more thing: current Social Security beneficiaries?  They'd get immediately hit by the COLA adjustments and other cuts. In fact the only people who aren't getting screwed right off the bat are Boomers between 50 and 67.

You know, the bulk of the Boomers.  Trump voters, even.

And let's remember, this plan has zero new revenue for Social Security....only big benefit cuts, and even bigger tax cuts for the rich.  Dems need to beat the GOP over the head on this scam on an hourly basis until it dies screaming...then introduce their own plan.

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