Washington Post Calls 85% Of America “Denialists”

2 comments August 12th, 2010at 11:39am Posted by Eli

Well isn’t this special…

The current focus of the Social Security denialists’ ire is President Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, which they view as a stalking horse for gutting Social Security. A new group, the Strengthen Social Security Coalition, which includes the AFL-CIO, the NAACP and the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, asserts that the president’s two choices to chair the panel, Democrat Erskine Bowles and Republican Alan Simpson, “sent a clear message. Social Security is on the chopping block.” The groups’ list of what changes are unacceptable is longer than what it would consider: no increase in retirement age; no reduction in benefits; no “means testing.” Rather, they say, the adjustments should come from the revenue side. Though the possibilities are not specified, they include raising the payroll tax rate, raising the ceiling for income on which benefits are paid or finding a new revenue source, such as the estate tax or a new financial transactions tax.

We would prefer a more balanced solution, one that relies on a combination of revenue increases and benefit adjustments. On the revenue side, it’s essential that the funding source come from within the Social Security system itself. The coalition is correct that Social Security should not be used to deal with deficit problems outside the program, but the converse is also true: Getting Social Security on a sustainable footing should not add to the deficit. Raising the payroll tax ceiling to cover the same share of wages that it did in 1983 would make sense, but that would only solve about one-third of the long-term problem. Some adjustments on the benefits side, particularly making benefits less generous for the highest-income recipients, would also make sense.

…Or the payroll tax ceiling could simply be removed, which as I understand it would fix 100% of the problem.  Funny how “benefit adjustments” seems like a perfectly acceptable idea but removing the cap doesn’t.

But if the WaPo wants to call us denialists, we’re in good company:

Social Security turns 75 this week and remains an intensely popular program with voters of all ages, who strongly oppose cutting it to reduce the deficit, according to a new survey paid for by AARP and conducted by GfK Roper.

The poll, which was provided exclusively to HuffPost, finds that 85 percent of adults oppose cutting Social Security to reduce the deficit; 72 percent “strongly oppose” doing so.

Too bad there just doesn’t seem to be any political will for doing what a mere 85% of the country wants.

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Economy,Media,Politics,Polls,Wankers


  • 1. Jamie  |  August 12th, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    Thanks for writing this up. That WaPo article was vile, to say the least. Here is Dean Baker’s response, wham! http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/beat-the-press/has-the-washington-post-gone-mad

  • 2. Eli  |  August 12th, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    Thanks, Dean Baker is awesome. Although I wish he had pushed back on the payroll tax cap statement, which was a particularly sneaky bit of sophistry.

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