Democrats Betting on Gridlock

Steny Hoyer is leading the charge among Democrat Senators to put the brakes on an extension of the 2% payroll tax cut.  After nearly a month of blaming Republicans for the delay in passing the extension and parading around middle class Obama supporters saying how much $40 will change their lives, now Democrats in the Senate look likely to be the ones who kill this extension.

Why are Democrats defecting after a deal had been worked out?  Because the current payroll extension bill makes new federal employees contribute 3.1% to their own pensions.  Apparently we should share sacrifice and have skin in the game unless you are a federal employee.  Currently they contribute .8%.  The government picks up the rest of the tab and returns on the pension are guaranteed.

Meanwhile, many middle class Americans contribute anywhere from 3-10% to their 401k plans with no guaranteed returns and a maximum 3% matching contribution from their employers.  However, Democrats have characterized the plan to increase federal employee pension withholding as a budget war on federal employees.

Democrats appear to have figured out that they are succeeding in blaming congressional gridlock on Republicans.  It also appears that their strategy is to maximize gridlock even if it hurts the middle class.  But if Americans figure out why Democrats are holding up this tax cut extension, sentiment could turn pretty quick.  Democrats are betting against the intelligence of American voters.

Yeah, but isn’t Social Security a ponzi scheme?

Talking about Social Security like it is just some government program that takes taxes from young workers and gives it to retired seniors as a ponzi scheme used to lose elections for Republicans.  But that was back when young, optimistic voters actually thought Social Security would be there for them.  Seriously, is there anyone out there still that gullible?

The height of our nation’s fiscal health came when Bill Clinton played a shell game with Social Security and called it a balanced budget.  Obama has cut Social Security taxes by 2%, despite the program’s fiscal uncertainty, and now wants to cut Social Security taxes in half and pay for it with taxes on the rich that even his own party wouldn’t vote for in 2009 when he last proposed it.  Meanwhile, as Newt Gingrich pointed out in last night’s debate, Obama has now threatened twice to cancel Social Security checks if Republicans don’t vote for his budgets.  What was an illusion of certainty to generation X is a joke to the youngest voters.

Who should be scared, seniors or future retirees?

When Rick Perry says Social Security is a lie and a ponzi scheme, believe it or not he resonates with my generation and younger.  We grew up being told that Social Security was a broken system and not to count on it.  We all got 401k plans and IRA plans because we knew Social Security wouldn’t be there for us.  Honestly, I don’t know a single person my age or younger who says “Boy, I can’t wait to retire and collect Social Security”.  We know it’s a lie, and if we get it, it will be icing on top of what we have saved for ourselves.

So let’s cut through the crap.  Who really has the best answer on Social Security?  Rick Perry wants to move it to the states and let the states run it.  Romney wants to increase the retirement age and change the way Social Security is calculated so that you don’t get paid as much.  But the majority of the candidates on last night’s stage want to offer private accounts for Social Security that future Presidents can’t dip into to balance their budget and future Presidents can’t cancel if they don’t get their way with the legislature.

In fact, of the candidates with scary language on Social Security, Perry and Romney are the ones whose stated plans would keep Social Security closest to what it is today.  Both have acknowledged affinity for private accounts, but both are looking to fix and make the current program solvent.  Cain leads the way on a fundamental overhaul of Social Security by turning it into private accounts, while Newt and Bachmann both support the idea.  Ron Paul’s view on social government programs seems a little up in the air after this last debate, going from a scrap it all approach to a we should get rid of it, but probably won’t approach.

Social Security will never be fixed until we are honest about it.  That much, Perry has spot on.  And Republicans who attack Perry for verbally assaulting Social Security may win senior Democrats, but will lose young Republicans.  Social Security is a ponzi scheme, and Perry isn’t the first person to call it that.  It is a lie, especially when it is slated to go bankrupt before most of us (including myself) will start collecting.  It is not a guarantee as long as the President can withhold checks or raid the fund in order to pretend he balanced the budget.  It is not supported by the Federal constitution.

Democrats can fear monger with seniors on this issue all they want, but anyone under 38 years old should think twice before voting for a party that can’t be honest and speak plainly about Social Security.

 

 

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