All That Talk About Class Warfare?
Well the Rich & Big Business declared it on the poor & middle class a long time ago and this is just the latest battlefront. The sad thing? Most folks either don't understand it (because they're so busy) or they think they're just a bazillionaire-in-training and not one of the masses.
Good old E.J., coming out swinging on the Bush's latest Social Security "solution" puts it all in perspective:
Bush has refused to put his own tax cuts on the table as part of a Social Security fix. Repealing Bush's tax cuts for those earning over $350,000 a year could cover all or most of the 75-year Social Security shortfall. Keeping part of the estate tax in place could cover a quarter to half of the shortfall. Some of the hole could be filled in by a modest surtax on dividends or capital gains.Hey, most of us get antsy when someone wants to borrow $10 or $20 bucks, so remember: WE'RE gonna be the ones borrowing thos TRILLIONS...
But Bush is resolute about protecting the interests of the truly rich by making sure that any taxes on wealth are ruled out of the game from the beginning. The Social Security cuts he is proposing for the wealthy are a pittance compared with the benefits they get from his tax cuts. The president is keeping his eye on what really matters to him.
The real costs of progressive indexing as currently conceived would be paid by middle-income earners -- those with incomes in the range of $35,000 to $60,000 a year. Eventually, such earners would face benefit cuts of 20 percent to 30 percent from what they are promised under the current program. And it gets worse: Rising Medicare premiums are eating up an increasing share of middle-class Social Security checks. Even without the cuts, Social Security payments will, over time, barely cover an individual's Medicare costs.
Last, there are the trillions of dollars that Bush would have us borrow to cover the transition to the private accounts he wants to set up. It's far from clear that cutting future Social Security benefits for younger members of the middle class and saddling them with mounds of new indebtedness will make either them or the country better off. Anyone who is truly conservative might have a question or two about whether this "solution" is worse than the problem it is purportedly addressing.