December 19, 2004

Bait and Switch

Oh, so Bush might be planning a little tax hike on the wealthy, is he?
Two of President Bush's top advisers refused on Sunday to rule out the possibility that wealthy people might have to pay more to help cover the cost of his move to partially privatize Social Security.

Neither Treasury Secretary John Snow nor Andrew Card, the White House chief of staff, would say whether Bush's ideas about overhauling the federal retirement program would include raising the limit on incomes subject to Social Security taxes.
Well, I'm not interested in this "compromise"! And Democrats shouldn't be either. Here are two questions for the president:

1) If tax hikes for the wealth are suddenly on the table, why don't we put them to good use—namely, reducing the much more serious General Fund deficit? Hm?

2) Fuck you and your fake "progressivism"! (Okay, that's not a question.) So long as Bush's Social Security Abolition Plan involves welching on the government's debt to the Trust Fund, there is no way this scheme is progressive in any way, shape, or form. I've seen Arnold Kling try to claim that no, no, borrowing money to pay for Social Security is a lot more progressive than using payroll taxes. Ach. Kling's usually an honest fellow, but this is sorely misguided. A default on the tranche of bonds owed to the Trust Fund in 2016, as Dean Baker points out, would amount to a transfer of more than $1 trillion from the bottom four quintiles to the households in the top 5 percent of the income distribution. If this is part of the Bush agenda, it's a fraud, plain and simple.
-- Brad Plumer 6:36 PM || ||