Payroll Tax Increase: Political Gamesmanship

Democracy and Power 108:  Obfuscation

Wherever politics intrudes upon economic life, political success is readily attained by saying what people like to hear rather than what is demonstrably true. Instead of safeguarding truth and honesty, the state then tends to become a major source of insincerity and mendacity. – Hans F. Sennholz

Payroll Tax Increase:  Political Gamesmanship
Advantageous political gamesmanship prevails over serious governance. 

America has dangerous debt caused by politicians – Republicans and Democrats.  Social Security is an unfunded liability and a major contributor to America’s fiscal crisis.  How is DC confronting the crisis?  Political gamesmanship as usual.

Presently, Democrats have a winning political tactic and are skewering Republicans over a payroll tax increase of $1,500 for typical working families.  Always ready to gain a political advantage, James Kvaal, Policy Director of, released an email claiming the cuts will help 160 million people and would be paid for by taxing millionaires and billionaires.   

 In case you missed it — yesterday Congress voted on a bill that gave them two simple choices:

A) Let President Obama’s payroll tax cut expire, raising a typical family’s taxes by more than $1,000 next year, or

B) Extend and expand the tax cut, helping 160 million people and letting that same family keep $1,500. Click here to find out what it does for you.

The payroll tax cut would be paid for by requiring millionaires and billionaires to pay a little more. But some in Congress think millionaires and billionaires should get to keep paying the already-low rate they get, thanks to the Bush tax cuts.

Politico labeled similar tactics as a “political gimmick”  when commenting on Senator Conrad’s (D-N.D.) acknowledgment for a need to find a serious means to pay for the reduced revenue, Politico reported

Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) said the new Democratic plan will be “paid for in a serious way” — an admission that the Democrats’ surtax on millionaires was little more than a political gimmick.”

How should serious politicians govern? 

First, admit the “payroll tax” is really the Social Security tax.  Second, admit that Social Security’s unfunded liabilities are enormous.  Third, realize the “serious proposal” being offered will not substantially reduce the debt caused by Social Security.  Lastly, realize a complete restructure of the Social Security and Medicare system must occur.

Because political avoidance and gamesmanship will always prevail, the only real solution is establishing personal accounts for Social Security and Medicare.  When Americans own and control their accounts, politicians will be prevented from diverting other people’s money for their political gamesmanship and aggrandizement.