Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The Democrats' Time for Social Security Reform?

by Kyle Michaelis
There's a vacuum right now, can't you feel it? Bush's private accounts are dying on the vine, and it just might be the time for Democrats to seize the debate. Bush's plan isn't coming. The empty suit has been revealed and, if we can now hit the ground running with OUR ideas and drown out privatization for good, the Republican Party will be humiliated before we start to seem like do-nothings.

I know I'm not the only one saying this, but I'm all for Social Security reform that addresses the most regressive elements of payroll taxes. EVERY American worker should be excluded from paying the employee's share of payroll taxes (employers' would not change) on their first $10,000 of income. To do this, however, each worker would only be allowed to designate one qualifying job per year to prevent fraud and confusion for people working more than one job.

Accompanying this idea would be raising the cap on payroll taxes to 150 K/year, meanwhile also considering a 1% Social Security Surcharge tax (joint emloyer/emloyee) on all salaries above this cut-off. Beyond these reforms, if solvency is still an issue, there will simply have to be some sort of gradual and minimal adjustment of Social Security benefits.

What do you think? It's not the ONE plan that will change the world, but I think the time has finally come to start playing more than defense on this issue. We've got to be talking about this. Private accounts have failed to click, but we can't let Republicans claim "at least they tried to do something." Right now, the best way we can show how bad their idea was is to come out with a better one while the issue is still hot and the President is beating a dead horse.

If we wait for '06 on this one, we may already have missed our chance to show Americans our true colors. Maybe I'm jumping the gun, but I don't think so. My every instinct screams on this issue, "Our time is NOW."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good work starting this weblog, Kyle. Why don't you post a like to your profile or provide an email address so some of us out of state readers can drop you a line.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Post a 'link' not a "like." Sorry about that.

Blogger Kyle Michaelis said...


Thanks for stopping by. My goal is to encourage conversation on this site. Anything a reader wants to say to me (via e-mail) could have just as much use to fellow readers - corrections, announcements, insults, whatever.

Though this site has every trapping of a personal blog, it's true purpose is to encourage dialogue, especially between like-minded Nebraskans (though "we're" happy to have you). Also, should this site ever become successful, I want to be able to transition to a format with more than myself as featured writers.

I use my real name, but I don't want to be front and center here - the issues should be. They are our last best hope.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I disagree. I have lots of things to say (maybe to you, maybe to other folks) that I can't share publicly. Your loss.


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