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Social Security's Future at Risk with New
Tax Deal, says Former House Aging Committee
Chief of Staff Robert Weiner
December 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/
-- Former Chief of Staff of the House Select
Committee on Aging Robert Weiner and policy
the tax deal passed by Congress is a major
threat to the solvency of Social Security.
In an op-ed in today's Palm
Beach Post, they assert, "Under the
radar screen, the new tax deal is
threatening the livelihood of America's
present and future seniors — to line the
pockets of millionaires.
"If made permanent, a new Social Security
'payroll tax holiday,' reducing the 'match'
employers pay from 6 percent to 4 percent of
salary, will drop the solvency of the
program 14 years, from 2037 to 2023. At the
same time, Congress agreed to increase
high-end loopholes in the estate tax,
exempting 39,000 estates worth as much as $5
Weiner and Battaglia said the most dangerous
part of the deal is that the payroll tax
holiday could become permanent: "The new
philosophy in Congress seems to be 'once a
cut, always a cut.' When the payroll tax
holiday expires in a year, Republicans will
insist on keeping it, just as they did with
the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy."
They say that Congress can "dig themselves
out" of the problem the same way President
Obama and Congress extended Medicare
reimbursements for physicians: "Congress
should have adopted an amendment to the tax
bill proposed by some far-sighted lawmakers
that would have replaced changes in payroll
taxes with a one-year credit to provide tax
relief to businesses, while not threatening
the solvency of the Social Security trust
"Instead, Congress broke down the firewall
of separate Social Security funding and gave
it to general revenue to help business --
and the heck with seniors."
Weiner and Battaglia cited the courage of
the late congressman Claude
Pepper, who stood up to Carter
Commerce Secretary Juanita
Kreps' suggestion to increase the
retirement age to 68 for full Social
Security benefits and got her to back off.
"That's the courage we need from somewhere
now. Congress should clean up the mess it
just created for seniors, and for all the
young and middle-aged who hope to grow old."