Sunday, March 20, 2005

Sweeney, Chartock and Social Security

WAMC's Congressional Corner on Saturday featured John Sweeney. Alan Chartock was asking Sweeney about Social Security. Despite the serious nature of the topic, there was a lot of joking and laughing. What could be so funny? Here is what Sweeney had to say:

On Raising The Payroll Tax Cap - Currently you are only taxed up to $90,000 for your social security benefits. Anything over that is gravy. One proposed solution to increase funding for social security is to raise this cap. Only people who make more than $90,000 a year would be affected. Sweeney says, "its a disincentive to continue to make money" and "a disincentive to growth". That's right. If we raise the payroll tax, according to John Sweeney, people will have no incentive to make more that $90,000 a year. How about those of us that currently make less than that? Don't we currently have a disincentive to make more since we are taxed on any increase? Why does anyone work at all if they are just going to have to pay taxes?

On Privitization of Social Security - "I haven't endorsed it" However, he hasn't not endorsed it either and he likes the idea because as he says it will "mitigate the need to raise taxes or cut benefits". This is simply not true. Privitization does nothing to address any funding issues with social security and actually would cost at least $2 trillion extra. So, this is your representative lying to you. Unfortunately Alan didn't take the opportunity to point this out. Then Sweeney said he really likes the idea of privitization because it give you "an opportunity to own something". I don't know about you but I don't care who owns my social security check as long as it shows up and it doesn't bounce. So, in the end, John Sweeney REALLY likes privitization but he hasn't endorsed it.

Alan disagreed with Sweeney on many of these points but still ended the show with:

"We love John Sweeney"

I'm not sure who Alan meant by WE but you can be sure I'm not in that group.