Center for American Progress Action
Hiding Behind Social Security
Hiding Behind Social Security
The GOP’s Latest Bogus Excuse to Raise Taxes on YOU In Order to Protect Millionaires
The GOP is not shy about the fact they will absolutely raise on taxes 160 MILLION working Americans if that’s what it takes to protect just 345,000 millionaires. They’ve said they’d do so — repeatedly — and they voted to do so last week and will likely do so again tomorrow.
This strategy, however, hasn’t worked very well for them, with Sen. John McCain stating yesterday that Democrats are winning on taxes. So, first they brought up their pledgemaster, Grover Norquist, to say a $1,000 tax increase on 160 MILLION working Americans would somehow not actually count as a tax increase, at least according to the oath Republicans have sworn to him. And now after that didn’t work, Republicans have come up with a new plan: hide behind Social Security.
Let’s review the Republican record on Social Security.
The GOP is the Party Out to Get Social Security
Here are just the most recent attempts of the GOP to effectively destroy Social Security.
- 2005: President Bush launched a major White House initiative, led by none other than Karl Rove, to privatize Social Security. After a massive outcry and campaign by Democrats to stop the GOP plan to privatize Social Security, public disapproval of the president’s handling of the issue rose to 64 percent. The GOP plan was finally abandoned only after the Bush administration’s botched handling of Hurricane Katrina permanently derailed his administration.
- 2010: A ThinkProgress report documented at least 104 Republicans in the last Congress who still wanted to privatize Social Social Security, even after the financial collapse of 2008 underscored how dangerous a move that would be.
- June 2011: Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), who leads the House GOP’s election efforts, introduces a new bill to privatize Social Security. Other leading Republicans, including Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), who would later serve as the GOP co-chair of the Super Committee, take to calling Social Security a “Ponzi scheme.”
- July 2011: Some 229 House Republicans and 46 Senate Republicans vote for a radical budget plan that would result in massive cuts to Social Security (along with Medicare, Medicaid, and anything else the government spends money on).
The President’s Payroll Tax Cut Plan Will Not Harm Social Security. Period.
The long and short of the GOP argument is that by cutting the payroll tax that funds Social Security, we are undermining the solvency of Social Security. That would be true, except for the fact that the plan explicitly replaces every cent of the payroll tax cut with funds from the government’s general fund. And Democrats even pay for their plan by asking millionaires to pay a small surtax, meaning that the general funds replacing the payroll tax would also not add to the deficit. Republicans have of course rejected this plan.
Today, Social Security’s actuary wrote a letter confirming that the payroll tax cut plan would have no impact on Social Security:
The blessing is being used by supporters of the tax holiday to try to convince members worried it weakens Social Security. That perception is especially strong in the House GOP conference.
Actuary Stephen Goss sent a Tuesday letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Budget Director Jack Lew giving his thumbs up.
“We estimate that the enactment of this bill would have a negligible effect on the financial status of the Old Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program in both the near term and the long term. We estimate that the projected level of the OASI and DI Trust Funds would be unaffected by enactment of this provision,” the letter states.
The letter notes that the 3.1-percent rate reduction in payroll taxes collected from employees is offset by a transfer of funds from the general Treasury.
As Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), the Senate sponsor of the plan, noted today, this pretty much destroys the GOP’s latest bogus excuse to not support the payroll tax cut extension and expansion:
Those who would oppose my legislation now have one less excuse to block this much needed boost for the vast majority of Americans.
IN TWO SENTENCES: While Republicans claim to be the protectors Social Security, they are actually the ones that are constantly looking for ways to privatize, cut, or otherwise destroy the program. It seems Republicans will try and come up with any excuse they can to justify their willingness to raise taxes on 160 MILLION working Americans in order to protect just 345,000 millionaires from having to pay their fair share.
Evening Briefing: Important Stories That You May Have Missed
Six thousand protesters condemned the Russian parliamentary elections as Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party claimed 49 percent of the vote in a controversial election.
Newt Gingrich may need the Christian evangelical vote to claim the GOP nomination, but Gingrich has a history of keeping the evangelical movement at arms length.
Rick Santorum publicly called for covert operations against Iran and attacked Obama for “not being able to keep a secret” about the rain on Osama bin Laden’s compound after the mission was completed.
The weird logic of the tax repatriation holiday.
The fanatics of the center.
FBI takes a major step toward updating narrow definition of rape.
Wisconsin’s Catch-22 form tells people they need a photo ID to get a birth certificate, which they need to get a photo ID, which they need to vote.
Marriage equality brought $13 million in new spending to Iowa.
Former Gov. Jon Huntsman (R-UT) flip-flops on whether or not he is crazy.
The positions of American Progress, and our policy experts, are independent, and the findings and conclusions presented are those of American Progress alone. A full list of supporters is available here. American Progress would like to acknowledge the many generous supporters who make our work possible.