Now they tell us

Editorial boards at WaPo, USA Today discover that Obama is a campaigner, not a leader.

From the Post: “Since his reelection, Mr. Obama has fueled a campaign-style effort to pressure Republicans to give ground on taxes. That’s fine, but it won’t be enough. At some point, he has to prepare the American people — and his own supporters most of all — for the ‘hard decisions’ required to put the country on a sound financial footing. That means spending cuts, it means entitlement reform, it means compromise, it means a balanced solution that will please neither House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) nor Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). Only one person is in a position to make it happen.”

And USA Today:

Democrats, of course, have a political interest in fudging the issue to keep Social Security out of negotiations over the year-end “fiscal cliff” of abrupt tax hikes and spending cuts. “I am not going to be part of having Social Security as part of these talks relating to this deficit,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told reporters this month.

Seriously? How exactly do Democrats expect Republicans to bend on their destructive refusal to raise taxes if Democrats won’t bend on their destructive refusal to trim unsustainable benefit programs?

Social Security represents more than one-fifth of federal spending, much too big to ignore. The likeliest fixes are well known. These include raising the cap on income subject to the payroll tax, tying cost-of-living adjustments more closely to actual inflation, and bumping up the retirement age for able-bodied future retirees. The sooner these changes are made, the less painful they will be.

But shoring up the program starts with politicians telling the truth about how Social Security works. That’s something the White House and congressional Democrats apparently think the public can’t handle.

Can’t handle and can’t understand, as a sure-to-be-forthcoming comment from our own Dollar Bill will illustrate.

16 Comments

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16 responses to “Now they tell us

  1. Riverside Chick

    What are the changes for the capitol gains taxes for next year? If it is too high, could it force sellers to take out another mortgage instead of selling and paying too high taxes?

  2. Dollar Bill

    Raising the cap on income subject to payroll tax is a no brainer. In 1983, only 10 percent of wage income fell above the cap and escaped taxation. Now more than 18 percent of wage income is above the cap. No reason why the Stevie Cohens of the world only pay SS taxes on the first $110,100 of their income, and the rest of us pay SS taxes on 100% of our income. Too much revenue is being left on the table. Equalize those rates, and you fill that future shortfall without raising the retirement age (terrible idea), or cutting benefits (very meager). COLA adjusting is also a very bad idea. It doesn’t save money, and amounts to a benefit cut.

    • Wow, Bill, that’s fantastic! You’ve solved a problem that’s been bedeviling economists for decades – have you sent this brainstorm down to Obama yet? I smell the Medal of Freedom for you, big guy. Now where exactly did we stash all those rich guys to fund this solution?

  3. GeorgeCrosley

    Dollar Bill calls Steven Cohen “Stevie,” once again showing that epithets and diminuitives are a huge part of his rhetorical arsenal. If his arguments were potent, he could eschew the puerile wordplay.

    • DB has never made an argument on these pages based on anything but invective and bumper sticker sloganeering so you shouldn’t expect anything better from him going forward; the man can’t think.

  4. Dollar Bill

    Proposing raising the cap on SS tax is “invective” and “bumper sticker sloganeering.”??. Sounds pretty reasonable to me, and to USA Today, but then again I don’t live in the Randian romper room you Teabaggers muck around in. Do you have any better ideas on SS,, or are you just content to fling insults all day long at people who disagree with you?

  5. Riverside Chick

    Concerned about cap gains on property. Since property has been in family for 3 generations , gain could be over 1 mil.

  6. Anonymous

    I’m still waiting for the day when economic liberals discuss efficiency on the spending side. They seem to always have a way to get other people to pay more taxes, but never consider the possibility that the spend is wasteful. Sad really.

  7. Mr. 85 Broad Street

    DB – what you are missing is the fact that the large majority of the income earned by the “Stevie Cohens” of the world is capital gain and other investment income and not subject to FICA (social security and medicare) taxation. The Medicare Tax is already unlimited and look what good that has done – the current projection is that the Medicare Trust Fund goes negative in 2033. The benefits have to change too, not just the taxes. If only the additional revenues are there, the profligates in both parties will figure out a way to spend it.

    Here’s a start, how about means testing for both? As one of my business school faculty colleagues used to put it, “Why did Rose Kennedy collect social security for 40 years?” If the 2% ers who make more than $250k that you want to tax with a higher marginal income tax rate are so rich, why not just take away their social security benefits?

  8. Westchesterer

    Goodbye mortgage interest rate deduction. 75% of the mortgage interest rate deduction goes to greater NYC, LA, and SF. Wonder how much Greenwich prices would fall if they eliminated it?

  9. Anonymous

    The term “teabagger” is certainly invective. Assuming he knows what that actually means…Dollar Bill strikes me more as a giver of “blumkins”.

  10. AJ

    Riverside chick, the capital gains tax is on the gain each time the property ownership is passed on and not based on what your great, great grandfather paid for it ten million years ago. You may be able to avoid all that by transfering a property prior to death but then if you pass it on the recepient will be receiving it with a lower cost basis (or is it higher, I forget), then there’s the three year nursing home thing, and then there’s the what if your parents are living there until they die and you predecease them. Then there’s estate tax — $5 million now but it could drop back to $600,000 plus another $600,000 with the A, B trust thing. You need to talk to a lawyer who’s expert in that area — no doubt CF knows one or two — and not some financial services clown who most assuredly will want to sell you something. In Canada there is no interest on mortgages deduction, with the exception of offsetting expenses on owned income producing rental properties, but no capital gains on property you live in. And no estate tax, unless, of course, you’re American, also known as a slave, or government property. Don’t forget to get USA branded on your forehead (mark o’ the beast) to show support for the homeland.

  11. AJ

    GeorgeCrosley, you’re assuming that DB knows the difference between an epithet and and epitaph.

  12. Dollar Bill

    Means testing is a miserable idea, 85 Broad, as it destroys the universality and simplicity of these programs, which is the way they were designed. If you allow the rich to opt out of paying into these programs, or start means testing them, (requiring more bureaucracy), you turn them into lower income “welfare” programs, with weaker constituencies, and before long, they will face the axe and be gone. No, means testing is the wrong way to go. We must strengthen these programs, not weaken them, and taking away benefits from the Rose Kennedys of the world is not the way to go.

  13. GeorgeCrosley

    If only DB was right in asserting that welfare programs have weaker constituencies and that they’ll be gone before long – if only!

  14. Mazama

    Worse still:
    “Now sick babies go on death pathway: Doctor’s haunting testimony reveals how children are put on end-of-life plan…”

    …”The investigation, which will include child patients, will look at whether cash payments to (British) hospitals to hit death pathway targets have influenced doctors’ decisions.

    Medical critics of the LCP insist it is impossible to say when a patient will die and as a result the LCP death becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. They say it is a form of euthanasia, used to clear hospital beds and save the NHS money.”

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2240075/Now-sick-babies-death-pathway-Doctors-haunting-testimony-reveals-children-end-life-plan.html#ixzz2DdBqrOH2

    Save the National Health Service money? How confusing. I thought that only evil capitalist health care systems care about money and that when the government takes over health care it become miraculously “free”. Doesn’t it. I almost sure Obama said that.

    Apparently people in the UK constantly ask their MPs to pull strings to get them denied treatment and this task eats up a lot of staff time in their Parliament. Can’t wait till I have to ask my MC (Member of Congress) for the same “favors”. I wonder what they’ll expect in return