Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and former Gov. Howard Dean (D-Vt.) are both raising doubts about an aspect of President Barack Obama's tax-cut deal that has not received much criticism: a one-year, two-percentage point cut in employees' share of the Social Security payroll tax. By contrast, a group which usually mounts staunch opposition to changes in the Social Security funding mechanism, AARP, has said it is not troubled by the proposed payroll tax holiday.
"That’s another thing that I really disagree with the president on...this two percent cut in the payroll tax that goes to the Social Security trust fund. The last thing that we need to do is invade the Social Security trust fund to provide for things right now for people’s living," Harkin said in little-noted comments Wednesday on C'-SPAN's "Washington Journal." "They’re going to make up that by it taking out of the general fund, in other words: debt. They’re going to put debt on our kids head to pay for that. That bothers me. That bothers me a great deal."
Dean, who doesn't get a vote on the package, took a similar tack on CBS's "Face The Nation" Sunday. "The 2 percent payroll tax sounds great, but in fact they take it out of the Social Security trust fund. Now, here we are complaining about the Social Security trust fund going broke and we take $120...billion of revenue out and use it for a payroll tax mitigation," Dean said.
"This is a short-term Washington fix. It does nothing about the biggest long-term threat to America, which is the deficit. I don't hear Republicans or Democrats talking about the deficit. There is no pain in this agreement. This is the easy way out for everybody," the ex-governor and former Democratic National Committee chairman said. MORE...
Sunday, December 12, 2010
"Harkin, Dean raise doubts on Social Security tax holiday; AARP has no objection"
Josh Gerstein (Politico):