Thursday, December 22, 2011

Washington Post plays the "entitlements v. the poor" card today


Today, the Washington Post has an editorial that does make sensible recommendations about state (VA) pension reforms and gradual Social Security changes. But there is some emotional language that is a bit off-putting. 
 
The title of the editorial (link) is “Entitlements vs. the Poor” (then subtitle “Virginia’s proposed budget shows why liberals are wrong to resist pension reform”).  But then it writes “There should be more means-testing, for example, so that poor taxpayers are not subsidizing wealthier ones.” 
 
Remember, as repeated here like from a cracked CD, Social Security is, in large part, funded by past contributions by the recipient and his/her employers.  Defined-benefit pensions are certainly related to service performed. 
  
That’s one reason why I have felt sympathetic (to say the least) to gradual Social Security privatization, so that the recipient owns his own benefits and so that they can’t be confiscated for someone else’s political agendas.
For example, some on the “natural family” movement want to exempt people from social security taxes once they have children within marriage. 
 
And a payroll tax holiday, however it may seem to help lower income wage earners in the short run, seems just to make the Social Security deficit grow. People have to continue making contributions for their own future benefits.  The right way to address lower take home pay is to address the causes of lower wages.  Maybe we need more  guinea pigs like Barbara Ehrenreich to pay their dues.

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