Obama Threatens Social Security
Source Louis Proyect
Date 10/12/14/08:00

(Except for the rather foolish assertion that Obama does not
intentionally seek to undermine Social Security, there is food for
thought here.)
Obama Threatens Social Security
William Greider

THE MOST DANGEROUS feature in the president's proposed compromise on
taxes is not the $700 billion tax cut for billionaires. It is the
Trojan horse provision that threatens to destroy Social Security by
undermining the longterm solvency of the social insurance system.

Barack Obama has proposed to knock two percent off the FICA deductions
every worker regularly contributes to the Social Security Trust Fund,
the money set aside for their future retirement benefits. Obama’s
one-year tax relief sounds attractive and workers can surely use the
money, but the consequences could prove deadly for the federal
government’s most popular program.

Doubtless, that is not Obama’s intention – he regularly calls for
strengthening Social Security – but the president has bought into a
Republican proposition favored by conservatives who would love to do
away with this New Deal creation. They know this will deprive the trust
fund of $120 billion in annual revenue and that shortfall will sooner or
later have to be made up to sustain future benefits. Can you imagine
Congress finding $120 billion for Social Security amid all the other
fiscal pressures?

For that matter, can you imagine Congress turning off this modest tax
break for working people once it’s in place? If you believe that, you
probably believe Obama is going to fight to recover the $700 billion tax
giveaway to billionaires while he is in the midst of his reelection

Nancy Altman, a 30-year policy expert and co-chair of Social Security
Works, fears this perverse policy turn “will lead inexorably to killing
Social Security.” The right-wing agitators will renew their claim that
Social Security is unsound and should be privatized, only now their case
will have a little substance. Democrats in Congress should discard
Obama’s proposal before it damages the crown jewel of the federal

Don’t count on Democrats for doing anything that principled. “Today’s
Democrats fail to understand the program,” Altman said, “and so are not
only blind to subtle assaults against it, but seem to conspire in those
assaults. With the Republicans and the Democratic president, perhaps
unwittingly, conspiring to destroy Social Security, the American people
don’t stand a chance.”

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