Well, this is disturbing. There really is no hope for the future of the GOP, if this is the third rail they've decided to dance upon.
Not only in the video above, but on his own website, Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee claims that the payroll tax holiday turns Social Security into a welfare system. He says that payroll tax holidays undermine the funding of the Social Security Trust Fund, and therefore turn the program into welfare.
But let's be clear, this is not about funding Social Security. If the Congress really wanted to increase funding for Social Security, they would, as soon as the recession is over, do away with the cap on Social Security taxes and be done.
This is about associating "Social Security" with "welfare." Pure Frank Luntz mendacity.
And Senator Tom Coburn is attempting to do the same thing with unemployment, by claiming that millionaires should not be receiving those "benefits." "Direct handouts for millionaires have included $74 million in unemployment checks." Handouts? Really?
Sounds good to slam the rich in every event, right? The razor in the apple of that article is needs-testing unemployment INSURANCE and PENSIONS. Those are items that even millionaires paid for and deserve.
If you're a millionaire and lose your job, you are still entitled to collect on your unemployment insurance, because you paid into it and you have LOST that income due to job loss. That is INSURANCE that you paid for, not welfare.
Newt Gingrich needs to be slapped with that two-by-four of fact as well. Sorry, Newt, it's not welfare to be on unemployment. You are collecting on insurance, just as if you got rear-ended by another car. You pay into unemployment insurance just in case the economy rear-ends your job. You don't have to go work for it, jump through massive hoops (except prove you're looking for work) or feel as if you are a welfare case in order to get it. You paid for insurance. If you make it needs tested, no wealthy individual is going to agree to pay for insurance they are forbidden from collecting if they lose their job.
Retirement benefits and Social Security are the same and moreso. It's baloney to say that JUST because someone is rich, they shouldn't get the pension they worked for and are entitled to.
This is a very obvious slippery slope to needs-testing Social Security. Which means the end of the program.
Once those basic social safety-nets, (paid for by the recipients!), are taken away from the upper classes, they CEASE to have a constituency that is worth one rat's ass in the Congress. Poor people do not have lobbyists. And the big reason the New Deal included the upper classes was to give to that program a voting and influential constituency of EVERY American. That is what makes any cuts to Social Security an absolute third rail in American Politics. A third rail these Republicans are now dancing upon. Do they think we won't notice?