Joe Biden Explains Social Security

In USA Today, Joe Biden writes: “Payroll tax cut will create jobs.” An inquiring reader has some questions and observations:

So let me get this straight…..the payroll tax cut — got that?…for this propaganda purpose the double talk requires that it be a “tax” whereas in other contexts it is always a “contribution” — will “save and create” jobs! It will be a “boost” to the economy. Slow Joe describes in language that can only be described as suitable for fifth graders how the tax cut will be “injected” into the economy resulting in a wonderful cascade of beneficial spending and employment….but hold on a minute, Joe…..doesn’t this imply both that the tax was, prior to the cut, a DRAG on economic performance?…..and that when it is restored in two years it will then BECOME a drag?
More broadly, given the regressive nature of this tax — as Joe says it’s “real money for real people” — can we not assume on the basis of Joe’s present claims that the Social Security/Medicare payroll tax regime is and has been a systematic drag on the economy? And if this is so why don’t we have a BIGGER and permanent payroll tax cut? I’d sure like to hear Joe or whoever he is currently plagiarizing explain all that.
But wait, there’s more! This wonderful tax cut, presumably unlike bad Republican tax cuts, won’t increase the deficit at all! That’s because we’re going to restore the tax in two years, see….and in the meantime, see, Uncle will just apply general revenues to the Social Security Trust Fund [sic] so Bubba doesn’t have to worry about that either! I am a bit confused, though, Joe….when we restore the payroll tax cut we won’t actually be recovering the foregone payroll tax revenue from the two year period of the cut, will we? And we’re not increasing other taxes — we’re preserving all of the Bush tax cuts!! — or reducing spending… either there is a large revenue hole for the two year period and perforce an increase in the deficit….OR we will claw back the cut in which case what possible economic stimulus effect will there be if Bubba has to pay back the payroll tax holiday on top of the restored payroll tax going forward ? Help me out here, Joe…..
And I love the sly reference to “[c]critics [who] have been spreading misinformation that the payroll tax cut will threaten the solvency of Social Security”. And who would those “critics” be? The left! Democrats! The Obama administration’s putative supporters, that’s who! And, Joe, thanks for spreading the disinformation about the “general revenues” going “into” the Trust Fund [sic], too. But, admittedly, here you do have a point–“the payroll tax cut will have no financial impact on Social Security”–but that’s because, as I am sure you know, Joe, the whole funding side of Social Security is a sham anyway! There is no “Trust Fund” in any meaningful sense and Social Security is more-or-less bankrupt and insolvent on an actuarial basis already, so it couldn’t be affected.
It is unbelievable to me that such brazen, disingenuous propaganda can be published direct from the VPOTUS….and in at least some quarters treated as other than utterly risible.
The payroll tax cut is a great idea — a great conservative idea — but please, Joe, if you want to defend the tax cut — against your own supporters! — and if you want to stand on the ramparts until the last dog dies defending Social Security as Harry Reid apparently does, be my guest….but please don’t insult our intelligence like this….it might give you a bad reputation!


Books to read from Power Line