And the saddest Spotty™ ever awarded
More commentary, this time in the Strib this morning, that our president has taken a historic step in insuring the demise of Social Security. Here’s the lede from David Morris’ op-ed, both a history lesson and a warning:
Today, 75 years and four months since Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act, a Democratic president has abandoned FDR's strategy for protecting the program from shifting political winds. If congressional Democrats go along with Obama on this, it could mark the beginning of the end of Social Security as we have known it.
I would put it a little stronger: it does mark the beginning of the end. Here’s Morris describing FDR’s thinking about how to fund Social Security and protect it from predation:
One reason Social Security has proven so enduring and substantial is because of the financing strategy chosen, a payroll tax.
Many of FDR's advisers wanted financing to come out of general appropriations. They counseled, using an argument eerily similar to that offered today, that in 1935 the economy was still emerging from a deep depression and a payroll tax would have a detrimental impact.
FDR understood the argument. But he believed it far more important to adopt a funding mechanism that would protect Social Security from the depredations of future politicians.
But Obama's tax deal will cut the payroll tax by 2 percentage points, reducing payments into the Social Security trust fund by $120 billion a year. Not to worry, says the White House.
The $120 billion will come from the general fund. Social Security revenues would remain intact. And the payroll tax reduction, they insist, will disappear in two years.
Well, if anyone believes that in two years the Republicans will agree to raise payroll taxes or that the Democrats will insist on it, I have a bridge to sell you.
The payroll tax cut will be permanent. The elderly and disabled will have to compete for $120 billion a year against all other claimants on the federal budget -- the Pentagon, Medicaid, education, environment. Or, the payroll tax will become a bargaining chip for a Republican demand that Social Security benefits be reduced.
This is a genuine scandal. Senator Go-Along to Get-Along Klobuchar voted for the bill, of course; sadly, Al Franken did, too, but at least he seems to recognize that there’s poison in the vote.
Let’s see, FDR was elected president four times. Who thinks that Obama will get two? Personally, I think he’s a long shot. And every congressional Dem who votes for this treacherous stinker (the bill) will have a lot of explaining to do.
But now, on the formal part of the program. For his excellent op-ed, David Morris wins the coveted Spotty™. Remember, boys and girls, a Spotty™ is awarded to a the author of an op-ed piece, a letter to the editor, a blog post, or a blog comment that Spot wishes he had written himself.