At Least He's Honest, About Taxes
In Wisconsin this week he brought up his idea to put a "hole" in the Social Security payroll tax, and keep the 102,000 limit, then kick it back in at $250k. I don't totally disagree with this idea, IF the formula for payments is kept the same, and there is some kind of cap on what income level you quit paying the tax at.
Currently the more you pay in, the more you get back. If with his new plan he wants to hoist a huge tax hike on a bunch of people, then "means test" it and not give them more in benefits for paying more in taxes, he should means test the whole Social Security program. He should require that any retirement income, pensions, 401 investments, etc, be counted against what anyone gets from Social Security.
On a historic note, he might want to look back to the 1980's and see what happened to Congressmen who suggested such an idea for Medicare.
He also took shots at John McCain over wanting private accounts for Social Security, claiming the stock market is too volatile for such investment. Then why does the government basically force it's employees to pick from stock plans with their retirement funds? Why don't they ban unions from investing in anything but T-Bills with their pension funds? Because the stock market is where those pension funds get their biggest returns.
Here's why politicians, like Obama, don't like the idea of you controlling any of your Social Security money. If you control it, they can't spend it. Right now that's exactly what they do. If you took McCain's plan, and put a quarter of your Payroll Tax into the market, that would be a huge; like hundreds of billions a year huge; chunk of money congress couldn't fritter away.
As far as his "safety" concerns, if the good Senator could show me a 10, 20, 30 or 40 year period where the special government bonds (actually, IOU's) the Social Security surplus is invested have outperformed the market, I'll gladly concede to his idea. He knows he can't, because it's never happened.
Keep in mind the next time Barack Obama tells you John McCain is for the "status quo" that his ideas for social security are exactly the status quo. It's just keeping the money as a piggy bank for Congress.