Four More Years of Magical Thinking
A portion of President Obama’s Speech deciphered:
“I’m done pretending to be bipartisan. I won a second term so I don’t have to fake it anymore. I have David Gregory, the New York Times and an entire cable news network, hundreds of bloggers and online writers promoting my marketing campaign as the new Abraham Lincoln. Collectivism is the foundation of individual achievement. I believe in a smaller government as long as it’s bigger than what we have. This is why I ask Republicans to work with me on fixing Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security as long as there are no changes whatsoever to any of these programs.”
This is how we enter another four years of magical thinking, where stimulus billions saved the economy, cash for clunkers saved the auto industry, and Solyndra and Fisker proved crony capitalism is good for America.
How will Obama save Social Security without making any changes to the system? That’s easy. He doesn’t need to. He won’t be accountable in 2033 when it collapses under the weight of collecting 75 cents for every dollar that’s paid out.
Another solution you may have heard is to eliminate the salary wage cap. As you probably know, any wages over a certain amount are not subject to the social security tax. That amount is $133,700, as the cap is being raised this year from $110,100 to $113,700. So, we can save Social Security by getting rid of that noxious cap and make everybody pay the tax on every dollar they earn. Yes! Tax the rich to save America!
There is a slight problem with this seemingly simple solution: It’s more simple than seemly.
Janemarie Mulvey of the Congressional Research Service studied this proposal and reported to members of Congress that such a strategy would, indeed, extend Social Security in its current form for 75 years. After 75 years, there would be no more rich people to soak. After 75 years, your children and grandchildren would have the same problem we do now without this 75-year extension. They would have to consider raising the retirement age to 70, reduce payments, or perhaps put off solving the problem for a few more years by capping benefits at some random level of annual income.
The random salary cap would be based on the traditional Washington, D.C. model of selecting policy digits with no meaningful relationship to the problem at hand, much like the bedazzling $200,000 and $250,000 income figures. Once that virtual Ouija board has been consulted, the guessing game is complete, and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) would calculate how many years the program can continue once the decision is made to disqualify anyone from receiving Social Security benefits if their annual income exceeds $85,423. Why $85,423? No reason. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
Take it to the CBO!
Then, the President can claim the accomplishment of “Saving Social Security” (for a few years) and go on his or her merry way.
If, by 2033, the Democrats have managed to continue this current course and checks don’t arrive at Grandma’s house, they need not worry. They’ll simply blame those rascally, intractable Republicans.
And the major media will help them again.