BUNNING WATCH….Via Max, here’s the latest tax scam from congressional Republicans. I’ll lay it out in easy steps:

  • In 1983 Congress voted to make up to 50% of Social Security benefits taxable. This tax applied only to high income recipients and the revenue was earmarked for the Social Security trust fund.

  • In 1993 Congress increased the share of benefits that was taxable to 85%. The taxes on the additional 35 percentage points of income were earmarked for Medicare.

  • Last week, the Senate voted to repeal the 1993 law. This means that after-tax benefits will be effectively increased for certain people

  • Which people, you ask? Via Citizens for Tax Justice, here’s the answer: The average benefit increase for people making under $50,000 per year is $12. The average benefit increase for people making over $200,000 per year is $2,431.

End result: rich retirees get higher benefits and Medicare gets less money.

This is the handiwork of Kentucky’s Jim Bunning, and in reality it’s mostly just a scam to increase the target level for tax cuts in the 2006 budget resolution. His actual proposal may or may not ever see the light of day.

Still, you have to wonder: is there any limit to Republican recklessness these days? Any sense of shame at all? Regardless of its final fate, Bunning’s proposal is so far beyond belief it’s in the twilight zone.

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