Last year a one-year cut in the payroll taxes that working Americans pay to finance Social Security was enacted in the name of so-called economic “stimulus.”
But, like the rest of the economic stimuli that have come from Washington over the last three years, the only thing that has been stimulated is the growing hole of national debt into which we sink deeper and deeper.
But now, not without surprise, our president and his Democratic colleagues want to continue, and possibly expand, this payroll tax holiday despite its obvious failure.
But wait a second. Failure is a matter of definition.
If the point was helping get our economy back on the road to growth and prosperity, the payroll tax holiday has been a failure.
But if the point of the payroll tax holiday is not to reduce government interference in our lives but to keep it, grow it and strengthen the decided movement of the last three years to turn our nation into a welfare-state plantation, it’s a great idea.
And that is really what is going on here and why President Obama and his Democratic colleagues on Capitol Hill love the idea.
Unlike our income taxes that government takes for general revenue and unspecified spending, the payroll tax is earmarked and specified. It pays for Social Security.
A cut in income taxes, even if not accompanied with an equivalent cut in government spending, puts the pressure for such cuts in place and carries with it the prospect of reduction of government interference in our lives.
But there is no such possibility with the payroll tax. When the tax was reduced “temporarily” last year from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent, were working Americans asked to agree to an equivalent cut in their Social Security benefits that that payroll tax pays for?
Of course not.
What politician in his or her right mind would suggest to working Americans that they intend to cut Social Security benefits?
But cutting the payroll tax is a dream idea for anyone whose project is turning our nation into a welfare state.
This is because, unlike the income tax, which almost half Americans don’t pay, practically every working man and woman pays the payroll tax.
And, what the payroll tax pays for, Social Security, is impossible to cut.
So, if the payroll tax is cut, you have to find another way to pay for those Social Security retirement benefits.
So how about rich people?
Democrats would like for super-high income earners, the top 1 percent, who already pay 40 percent of America’s income taxes, to also start paying for everyone’s Social Security benefits.
Why not also force high-income earners to put their addresses up on the Internet and we can all send them our grocery bills, our car payments and our kids’ tuition bills? Let’s get the rich to pay for all our bills, including our retirement.
Unfortunately, some Republicans are allowing themselves to be suckered into this political blackmail.
Cutting payroll taxes earmarked for a Social Security system that is already bankrupt is no way to run a country and no way for people that are allegedly free and responsible citizens to live.
And using a payroll tax holiday as a back door plan to turn Social Security into a middle-class welfare program does not bode well for our nation’s future.
If the point is to fix Social Security, let working Americans keep their payroll tax and use it to fund their own private retirement account – an idea three of four Americans under 50 favor.
If the point is to restore our economy, let’s cut the trillion dollars in new spending we’ve larded into the government over the last three years and start focusing on rewarding rather than punishing individual freedom and success.