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12/14/2004

Graham Opposes Borrowing to Pay for Social Security Abolition

President Bush has rightly forsworn increasing payroll taxes to finance the elimination of Social Security. Some people, though, seem to think that Bush intends to finance it instead through borrowing and increasing public debt. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, everyone's favorite Southern Republican, warned him that this course would be "irresponsible:"

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said reliance on borrowing to finance an estimated $1 trillion to $2 trillion in transition costs would be irresponsible and could undermine Bush's tax- and deficit-cutting goals.
"White House officials" don't believe that Graham's objections have merit, claiming that "borrowing would not endanger the president's other financial goals."

This is an excellent example of the GOP's ability to shift political debates to the right. In the above exchange, Graham looks like a moderate - but he still favors the abolition of Social Security. He just wants to do it by "raising the annual salary cap for Social Security taxes from $87,900 to $150,000," which is a far superior funding mechanism for what remains horrible legislation. If we are going to raise the ceiling on payroll taxes (which is already scheduled to rise to $102,000 in 2008, I believe), the already miniscule risk of a Social Security crisis is rendered inconceivable.

We occasionally get mired down in the minutiae of political debates, challenging Bush on details when we should be looking at the big picture.

 

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