More Social Security Follies

MORE SOCIAL SECURITY FOLLIES….From the Washington Post’s campaign blog:

Clinton, without naming Obama, also continued to blast him for proposing to the lift the cap on the taxing of Social Security benefits, which are currently taxed at 6 percent, but only on the first $97,000 of a person’s income.

“We don’t need more Republican scare tactics about a ‘Social Security crisis,'” Clinton said. “And we don’t need a trillion-dollar tax increase that will hit families already facing higher energy, health care and college costs.

God almighty, is this the most dispiriting “controversy” ever between two Democrats? Obama was wrong to buy into the “crisis” language and wrong to try and make Social Security into a campaign issue in the first place. It’s been dead since 2005, it’s not a point of serious contention in the Democratic Party, and bringing it up seems like more of a pander to Tim Russert and the rest of the DC press corps than anything else.

On the other hand, lifting the cap on the payroll tax is hardly the devil’s snare Hillary is making it out to be, especially if it’s phased in over a period of years. In fact, it may be the most thoroughly mainstream liberal approach to extending the solvency of Social Security there is. It would make the payroll tax less regressive, it would close a big chunk of the future funding gap, and its biggest hit would be concentrated on the richest two or three percent of individuals in the country. As for the “trillion dollar” number, that must be over ten years, right? In other words, it’s nowhere near as big a tax increase as Hillary implies.

I really can’t believe that the two leading candidates for the Democratic nomination are squabbling over Social Security minutiae of all things. It’s insane. Find something else to smack each other around about, OK?