Protecting the Democrats' Base
The Democratic Party should work to further the interests of its base, the people who volunteer, donate money and vote for it. I dare you to make a persuasive argument against that.
News flash: in the 2010 elections for the House of Representatives, the Democrats' worst age group, by far, was 65+. Social security recipients voted for Republicans by a 59-38 margin while the youngest voters favored Democrats 55-42, even in this harsh year for the good guys.
And yet, we have Dean Baker arguing this:
(S)upporters of Social Security and Medicare have to restructure the options. They have to push President Obama to announce in advance that he will never sign a debt ceiling bill that includes cuts to Social Security and Medicare, the countr(y's) two most important social programs.
He's not the only one, of course. We have scores of progressives yelling that Social Security and Medicare should be sancrosanct. But, why? If the elderly are going to vote Republican, why not let the Republicans protect the interests of their own base?
The scandal of Social Security and Medicare is the funding mechanism, the payroll tax which caps out at about $110K per year. That is, if you make a kajillion dollars this year, you only have to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes on the first $110K. If you inherit money or make it in the stock market, you pay nothing from that into this fund. Since the 80's, Social Security has, by and large, been taxing middle-class families and redistributing it to older middle-class Americans. Granted, there's some redistribution of money downward, but it's not to the degree that most assume.
The Democrats should insist on applying the payroll tax to the wealthy. If Republicans won't agree to that, cuts in Social Security and Medicare should be made first on the Republicans' base-- currently retired people who are relatively well off. And Democrats should, of course, protect the elderly who vote for them, those whose income is marginal.
As the late Molly Ivins would say, "You Got to Dance with Them what Brung You."
(Photo by Ansgar Walk, who has zero connection with the other content of this post.)
Sustainable Cities Collective