Mitch Daniels is being touted as potentially one of the hopeful presidential candidates for the GOP in 2012, but this interview with MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan fill-in Matt Miller didn't impress me much. Daniels just looked like someone stammering through the list of recent GOP talking points which includes everyone feeling some "shared sacrifice" and cuts to Social Security and Medicaid with no talk about the wealthy in American sharing any of that pain as well.
One of the ideas that Daniels promoted during this interview as the rich potentially doing their share is the Trojan House of means testing Social Security which is nothing but an attempt by the right to turn the program into another form of welfare... and we all know what Republicans think of welfare programs. Dean Baker has more on why that's a really bad idea.
Billionaire Wall Street investment banker Peter Peterson has come up with a focus group tested term for his plan to cut Social Security. He calls it "affluence testing." The idea is that we will just cut Social Security benefits for wealthy people like Peterson who don't need their Social Security. We won't touch benefits for ordinary working people.
That's a great story. Unfortunately, it has nothing to do with the debate over cutting Social Security. The problem with the Peterson story is there are very few wealthy elderly. We can zero out the benefits for Peterson and his wealthy friends and nothing in the Social Security accounts would change. Social Security's maximum benefits are just a bit over $30,000. Taking away $30,000 from a few thousand families makes no measurable difference in a program that spends $700 billion a year. [...]
This is important not just as a moral issue, but also for political reasons. Social Security enjoys enormous bipartisan support because all workers pay into it and expect to benefit from it in retirement. Taking away the benefits that better-off workers earned would undoubtedly undermine their support for the program. This could set up a situation in which the program could be more easily attacked in the future.
Go read the rest but the last bit in his post says it all. Means testing would just be another way to undermine the program and eliminate it. Don't be fooled by any talk that it would help save Social Security. As Karoli noted in her post, I'm as tired of these lies as well, and if they're going to keep the worker's contribution at 4%, I'm all for it as long as they raise the cap or get rid of it completely. It's a terribly regressive tax where the rich don't pay their share.
Sadly our corporate media has gone full bore with promoting this "bipartisan" "centrist" solution to solving our debt problem that none of them gave a hoot about when George Bush was invading two countries and not even bothering to include them in the budget. Now we've got a crisis on our hands. Bulls#%t.
This is nothing but them doing their part to help the politicians destroy what's left of the social safety nets that we've got left and what little of the middle class in left in America. And as someone who monitors the cable news programming for Crooks and Liars and has for years, this kind of talk is nonstop and on every network... and it's getting really old listening to these talking heads really fast.
When the rich want to start paying their fair share in taxes we can start talking about some "shared sacrifice". Until then, we need to be pushing back against this crap and telling our politicians and the talking heads in the media that we're not buying their snake oil.