Why does Orrin Hatch want to steal money from Social Security?
That’s his proposal, anyway, although he doesn’t call it that.
Sen. Orrin Hatch and Sen. Charles Schumer had an op-ed in the NYTimes the other day with a proposal to boost jobs by giving employers a break on Social Security Tax. The idea is, the prospect of saving $3,400 a year on an employee will make an employer go hire more people and then all will be well with the world.
Sens. Hatch and Schumer say the loss in SS funds will be made up by “other cuts,” and right there I had a problem.
First off, what other cuts? If I’ve learned one thing in my life on this planet it is that Congress always promises other cuts to balance reduced taxes, but never makes them.
You want to promise a cut, you better identify the cut now, and that cut better be part of the bill, and the cut better be real, not some hoped for thing, or some accounting trick, and it better equal the thing it is allegedly balancing.
Second, what the hell is any senator doing reducing the amount of money going to Social Security? That’s not Congress’ money, it’s yours and mine. Keep your grimy hands off. Sen. Hatch, along with the rest of the GOP, and Congress, has been screaming for years that Social Security is underfunded for its obligations. So now Sen. Hatch, that great fiscal conservative, wants to take money from an already underfunded program?
It would be hard not to see this as yet another effort to do away with Social Security. They cut funds going into the SS fund, never get around to replacing them and then react in horror when the fund runs short of money.
Third, I seriously question whether the bill will induce anyone to hire anyone they weren’t about to hire anyway.
This is really critical. Do these things really work?
Hatch, Bennett, Bishop, Presidents Bush, Reagan, even Clinton and now Obama, all say over and over that cutting taxes will boost employment. Bush cut taxes like crazy, but the only thing that he ever did that boosted employment was spend two trillion dollars he didn’t have on military junk.
The defense industry took those several trillions of dollars and hired a lot of people whose jobs now depend on wars continuing for the foreseeable future, if not longer. If peace ever breaks out, folks, we’re in trouble, especially in Utah.
Businesses, meanwhile, took the tax breaks but shifted millions of jobs overseas anyway. My Lifesavers are now made in Mexico. My Levi jeans in Lesotho. Everything else in China.
Will Joe Businessman hire someone just because he’s going to save $3,400 for the first year? It depends on how business is going and whether rising business will support the $35,000 or so in wages, plus other thousands in health care and other benefits, he’ll have to spend on the new person.
It’s chicken and egg — the businessman has to have enough business to support his jobs so he can pay wages to his employees so they can go spend money and boost business. Henry Ford wanted his employees to earn enough so they could buy cars — a concept we seem to get getting away from in America as we race to lower prices, and wages, until everyone pretty much has to shop at Wal-Mart.
Compared to all that, $3,400 in taxes is not a huge amount.
So I dunno. The government has been cutting taxes for years to “stimulate” the economy and the economy sucks because tax cuts only give a one-time boost, then the new tax rates become the norm, forces really controlling employment take hold again and thing settle back to normal.
The bigger problem I see is not that employers have to pay too much in taxes, but that they’re finding too many ways to have stuff made in China at $1 an hour than hire people to make it here at $15 an hour.
Hard truth is, too many jobs have been shifted overseas, and too big a chunk of our economy — 70 percent or so — is the financial industry, which generates “profits” by buying and selling money, generating “derivatives,” which are pieces of paper with numbers on them, but never makes anything.
We can’t all be financiers, but all the tax breaks in the world won’t help a factory worker if nobody wants to use the factory to make stuff.
But that’s Sen. Hatch — give tax cuts, boost employment, never mind whether it really does. And finance it?
“Oh, those old people on Social Security will just blow the money on food,” you can hear him say “We’ll promise to make it up somehow, and they’re just dumb enough to believe us.”