Barack Obama’s advisors have attempted to characterize him as being especially crafty in developing a temporary reduction of Social Security payments by 2 percent of annual income. Their idea is that this reduction of payments into the Social Security trust fund will somehow compensate for the injustice of the tax cuts for billionaires that Barack Obama has agreed to.
This evening, Tom Harkin gave a speech that shatters the myth of Obama’s clever inclusion of the reduction in payments to keep Social Security solvent. Harkin argued that Republicans will extend this reduction, claiming that a return to normal payments is an unfair tax increase. General government revenues won’t be able to make up the difference, because of huge deficit spending, and then, Republicans will target Social Security.
Describing this Trojan Horse attack against Social Security, Harkin warned:
“We will set in motion with this tax package, I think, a pressure to begin the dismantling of the Social Security trust fund. We haven’t done this before, and we shouldn’t be doing it now. We’ll come in, be 4 percent one year, 4.2 percent, and next year go back up to 6.2 percent. We’ll be accused of raising taxes on hard working Americans. Therefore, we’ll need to extend it, and as we extend it, that means more money will come from general revenues, will have to come from general revenues to put in the Social Security trust fund.
Okay, let me repeat this. Right now, every working American puts in 6.2 percent of their income into Social Security. That’s a trust fund. Now, they’re going to take it down from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent and say, ‘Okay, you get to keep in your pocket 2 percent for one year.’ A year from now, they’ll come in there and say, ‘Oh no, we can’t go back to 6.2 percent. That’s an increase in taxes on working Americans. Okay, we’ll extend it.’
How are we going to make up for that 2 percent cut? We’re supposed to make up for it with general revenues. How are we going to make it up with general revenues when we’re going to be arguing that the debt is so high, the deficit is so big we ought to cut spending? So, we’ve got to cut spending, therefore we can’t put the money from general revenues back into Social Security.
What’s the answer? Raise the retirement age of Social Security. Cut back on the benefits of Social Security. Maybe cut down on disability benefits. All kinds of things to cut down on Social Security, so we don’t have to take money from general revenues to put back in the Social Security trust fund.
Mark my words. It’s coming.”