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Liberals Against Saving Social Security, Ctd.


One more thing: Toward the end of his post, Marshall makes a version of an argument that Paul Krugman also makes. (Scheiber makes part of it, too.) The argument starts with the notion that the Social Security surplus has enabled income-tax cuts over the last generation. So middle-income workers, by paying excess payroll taxes, have enabled upper-income people to get tax cuts. So, runs the argument, why not pay the money back? Why not raise taxes on the rich and devote the money to Social Security?

The argument ignores the generational point: We’re talking about different people. If you want to take money back from the affluent people who got supposedly unfair income-tax cuts in the 1980s, raising taxes on high earners from 2009 on isn’t the way to do it. The only way to do it would be to cut benefits for the high-end retirees of the next few decades–which was proposed by. . . President Bush.


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