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Yes, Indeed: Republicans Want to Cut Social Security
Liberals are accused of scaring our elders by saying conservatives want to cut Social Security; but it's true. Paul Krugman talks about Greenspan.
In the upcoming presidential campaign debates it will be interesting to see how the candidates discuss Social Security. George Bush will claim, as he has many times, that his purpose is not to cut Social Security. He may even accuse Democrats of scaring older folks with talk of cutting benefits. But the fact is that Republicans, indeed, do want to reduce benefits; in fact, many conservatives hate nearly everything done in Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, including Social Security.
Paul Krugman, an economist and columnist for the New York Times, has clearly noted all this in various columns. He has written about Bush's proposal for private Social Security accounts as part of his "ownership society" concept. If employees are allowed to place part of their payments in private accounts that will mean less funds available to pay benefits to others; that is going to cost the government many billions of dollars so there will be great pressure to lower the benefits. Bush never talks about that when he raises the topic, another major way he misleads the public.
Krugman in the New York Times Magazine wrote an article which talks about Federal Reserve Chairman Greenspan's approach to Social Security, how it has hurt working folks. Remember that it was Greenspan's support for Bush's tax cuts that helped convince congress to adopt them. I recommend reading the whole article, but here is a section:
Before Greenspan became Fed chairman, he headed a commission that recommended changes in Social Security to secure its future. The most important recommendation, adopted by Congress, was for an increase in the payroll tax -- a regressive tax that falls much more heavily on lower- and middle-income families than it does on the well-off. The ostensible purpose was to generate a surplus within the Social Security system, building up a trust fund to pay benefits once the baby boomers retire.
That was the bait; now Greenspan has pulled the switch. The sequence looks like this: he pushed through an increase in taxes on working Americans, generating a Social Security surplus. Then he used the overall surplus, mainly coming from Social Security, to argue for tax cuts that deliver very little relief to most people but are worth a lot to those making more than $300,000 a year. And now that those tax cuts have contributed to a soaring deficit, he wants to maintain the tax cuts while cutting Social Security benefits. He never said, ''Let's raise taxes and cut benefits for working families so that we can give big tax cuts to the rich!'' But that's the end result of his advice.
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