While deficit projections made the headlines in recent coverage of the Congressional Budget Office's Long-Term Budget Outlook,  we were especially interested in Chapter 3 on Social Security.  Since years and dates are always what people ask about first when talking about Social Security, here are CBO's dates:  analysts say Social Security will be able to pay full benefits until the year 2047 or 2045 (depending on which fiscal scenario is used).  That's up to a full decade longer than projected in the 2009 Social Security Trustees ReportCBO also continues to make the case for health care reform as a top fiscal priority:   
"Constraining the costs of those health care programs will be a key to developing a sustainable fiscal policy. Social Security has a smaller effect on the budget outlook: CBO projects that Social Security spending will increase from less than 5 percent of GDP today to about 6 percent in 2035 and then roughly stabilize at that rate through 2080."
But what is even more interesting in this CBO analysis is its description of two fiscal scenarios, one (Extended Baseline Scenario) which allows the Bush tax cuts to expire with no alternative minimum tax (AMT) adjustments-meaning no change in current law-and another scenario (Alternative Fiscal Scenario) which includes these policy changes.  CBO's analysis shows just how much damage the Bush tax cuts would do to the Social Security Trust Fund and our long-term debt. Extending these tax cuts (under the Alternative Fiscal Scenario) would worsen Social Security's long-term solvency by .21%, meaning even larger cuts in benefits would be needed for long-term solvency. In other words, younger workers would get their tax cuts now and would likely suffer larger Social Security benefit cuts in the future. You can be sure that's not a trade-off Congressional tax-cutters are too eager to advertise.   Bruce Webb at Angry Bear describes the tax cuts' impact on long-term debt this way: 
"So if we let the Bush tax cuts sunset we buy ourselves about 20 years to figure out what to do long-term. If we extend them we are looking at a situation by 2037 where debt held by the public is a full 200% of GDP as opposed to 75% under current law (i.e. tax cuts sunset). So those people who are attacking Obama spending effects on the deficit over the next 10 to 20 years using CBO numbers need to confront the fact that there is a lot more long term impact from the foolish policy of tax cuts on top marginal rates."  
The wisdom of extending tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans while worsening Social Security's long-term financing and our debt situation should be a political no-brainer.  Of course, you note our emphasis on should be...