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Response to MichMan (Reply #81)

Fri Dec 22, 2017, 05:54 AM

84. If It's Not A Tax, Why Is It Paid For By The "Payroll Tax?"

"That is why people are saying if you increase the cap you also need to increase the benefit amount."


I disagree. People are repeating a talking point designed to scare people away from the idea of removing the cap. The talking point creates a false dichotomy, where you (appear) to have only two choices:

1. Either you let the wealthiest Americans off the hook for paying their fare share into the country's most important SOCIAL program (hence the name Social Security). This causes the program to be chronically underfunded, and allows 'conservatives' to blather about how it will go broke in 20 years unless we CUT benefits, Or...

2. Remove the cap on payments AND the cap on benefits, and have the social security trust fund paying for two of David Koch's Lear jets; causing it to go bust TOMORROW.

But again, that's a false dichotomy, designed to scare people. No EFFECTIVE social program works that way. Lousy, crony-capitalism programs, that make extensive use of user fees and surcharges do. And conservatives tend to like those types of programs because they are less of a tax burden on the wealthy.

"There is a big risk that it is seen as a welfare program and not as insurance undermining support for the program."


Again, I disagree. Frank Luntz's genius not withstanding, changing the name of America's most popular social programs is not going to undermine them. Social Security and Medicare (which are linked, so that you can't opt out of one without opting out of both) are the third rail of American politics (touch it and die) for a reason. Because they're used by ALMOST everybody. Especially the middle class. They're not programs that are just targeted to the poor, and which cynical politicians can turn people against by using racist dog whistle tactics. "Welfare," "Unemployment," "Disability"...sure. Those programs are obviously for losers, and you can easily use the politics of resentment to undermine them. But I'm pretty sure you could change the name of Social Security to "Free money for old losers" and it wouldn't erode public support for the program.

Regardless of what you call those programs, they're universally loved by everybody EXCEPT the handful of people who are seriously wealthy enough that they'd never need them. And those people that are wealthy enough to never need to use Medicare or Social Security resent having to pay for them. Resent having to pay for things that other people need, but they don't.

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yurbud Dec 2017 OP
Orsino Dec 2017 #1
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MichMan Dec 2017 #81
LineLineLineLineLineLineLineReply If It's Not A Tax, Why Is It Paid For By The "Payroll Tax?"
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