Payroll Tax “Holiday” is Anything But
“Even though Social Security contributed nothing to the current economic crisis, it has been bartered in a deal that provides deficit busting tax cuts for the wealthy. Diverting $120 billion in Social Security contributions for a so-called “tax holiday” may sound like a good deal for workers now but it’s bad business for the program that a majority of middle-class seniors will rely upon in the future.” Barbara B. Kennelly, President/CEO
Conservatives have long dreamed of a payroll tax holiday because it fulfills two ideological goals, lower taxes and weakening Social Security’s finances. The White House claims the 2% payroll tax cut won?t impact Social Security; however, we disagree.
“There’s no such thing as a “temporary: tax Cut. If Congress is unwilling to allow tax cuts for wealthy Americans to expire in the midst of economic crisis now, then why would it allow this so-called “holiday” to end in one year? The short answer–it wouldn’t. Americans should expect that when this tax “holiday” ends, restoring Social Security’s funding will be portrayed by those opposed to the program as a massive tax hike, rather than the legislated end of the “holiday”. That leaves Social Security permanently dependent on general fund revenues rather than worker contributions which have successfully funded the program for 75 years. If extended, this payroll tax cut would then double Social Security’s 75 year projected shortfall. This 2% payroll tax cut is the beginning of the end of Social Security as we know it. Worker contributions have successfully funded the program for 75 years and that critical linkage between contributions and benefits is what keeps Social Security a self-funded program. Proposals like this threaten the program’s independence, forcing Social Security to compete for limited federal dollars. Cutting contributions to Social Security isn’t the best way to stimulate the economy. The Tax Policy Center reports the wealthiest 40% of households benefit most from a payroll tax cut. According to The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, extending the “Making Work Pay Tax Credit” is a much better and targeted stimulus.
For all of these reasons, the National Committee does not support proposals to cut the payroll tax. America’s seniors understand the vital role Social Security plays during these difficult economic times and they’re not willing to trade promises of possible short-term economic gains for real and measurable damage to this vital program which would impact generations of Americans to come.