Freshman Rep. Jeff Landry (R-LA) has come up with an interesting solution to the political debate over the pending expiration of the payroll tax cut: Have workers voluntarily choose whether to continue the cut for themselves — with the tradeoff that for every calendar year they claim the tax cut, they would also cut their own Social Security, delaying the start of benefits by one month.
The Hill reports that Landry is pitching the bill as an addition to the debate over payroll tax cut’s expiration, which has hinged on the fact that the payroll tax is used to finance Social Security. (Republicans have refused Democratic efforts to pay for the tax cut by raising other taxes on the wealthy.)
Many workers would likely see their taxes go up — but that would be because they declined to cut their future Social Security benefits.
Landry’s bill is entitled the SSPICE Act: Social Security Preservation through Individual Choice Enhancement. Landry has thus far attracted two co-sponsors, fellow freshman Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) and two-term Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA).
This would seem to satisfy two conservative ideological goals, in one single motion: 1) Avoid raising taxes, and 2) Wean people off of Social Security, at least partially, by having workers voluntarily agree to raise their own retirement ages.
“The payroll tax holiday is a difficult issue for Congress because it forces us to choose between allowing Americans to continue to keep more of their hard-earned money or providing for the continued life of Social Security,” Landry said in a press release. “As the American people know how to manage their own money far better than Congress does, the SSPICE Act allows the each American to make this decision.”
And as The Hill reports, McClintock said Tuesday morning on the House floor: “For the first time, costs and benefits would be linked in a manner that all consumers can understand and judge for themselves based on their own circumstances.”
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee — which has been focusing on Social Security as a key issue for the 2012 election cycle — is already out with a statement on this proposal from the House side.
“We already knew that Republicans were going to do whatever they could to protect millionaires but this new proposal takes the cake,” said DSCC spokesman Matt Canter. “Only Republicans in Washington - the same folks who tried to end Medicare in order to protect Big Oil - would think it’s a good idea to cut Social Security in order to protect millionaires. Their endless, undying devotion to millionaires and billionaires is going to be an enormous vulnerability for Republicans next year.”