By all accounts, Republicans finally made the move Democrats were hoping they’d make. Even as Republicans in the Senate were going to the mat to keep tax rates low on richer Americans, they were insisting on trimming Social Security benefits. The idea was quickly withdrawn Sunday when Democrats said it was a deal-breaker.
Now I want to point out that there are some legitimate reasons for wanting to trim Social Security.
Conservatives will point out that workers are living much longer. That there are retirees who already have plenty of money. And that the formula being used to calculate benefits tends to overestimate inflation. So you can make a case for saving money on Social Security.
But to make that case at the same time you’re fighting to save a tax break for people making over 250,000 a year – makes you look like a grandma-hater.
And of course it’s an unfair image; of course no one wants to hurt retired old people – especially when they have kindly faces and smell like warm cookies.
But when you talk about trimming social security benefits as the price of raising taxes on households making over 250,000, you are saying that you simply cannot bring yourself to raise taxes on people making 21,000 a month unless we trim a benefit that averages $1230 a month.
Which was the average Social Security payment last year.
Like I say, it may make perfect sense on a balance sheet. But you cannot apply balance sheet logic to the elderly woman whose eyes twinkle, who always makes the kids smile, and whose cookie jar is always full.