Election days tend to be a bit boring in the newsroom. Not a lot is scheduled during the day, the Oshkosh City Council had to move their meeting to today and everyone just sits in anticipation for that night's results. That's why I had time to dial into a conference call hosted by a Wisconsin seniors group discussing the 77th anniversary of Social Security and how Paul Ryan is going to ruin it.
One of the presenters on the call was Milwaukee Congresswoman Gwen Moore--whom state Democrats have apparently annointed as their Paul Ryan attack dog (and who--in the absence of anything controversial coming from the Oshkosh School Board recently--has become my new Muse). Congresswoman Moore wanted to talk about the bill that she will be introducing when the House reconvenes this fall that she says will not only extend the solvency of Social Security (wait, I thought the President said he already did that)--but even expand the benefits the program provides!
Congresswoman Moore says the keys to her "Anti-Paul Ryan Plan" are doing away with the cap on income subject to Social Security withholdings (another tax on the rich) and a "tiiiiiinyyyyyy little increase on the payroll taxes for the Middle Class". As you can imagine, this piqued my interest--as Democrats are spending every waking minute now claiming the Ryan Budget Plan will "balance the budget on the backs of the Middle Class". Yet the solution they come up with actually does raise middle class taxes.
Once the call opened up for questions from the press, I asked Congresswoman Moore how tiny is a "tiny little increase" in the withholding taxes? She wouldn't give an exact number (RED FLAG!!!!)--but she said that a "tiny increase on the Middle Class would generate so much more revenue" and "it's better than not having a Social Security benefit at all!!"
And in that moment, Congresswoman Moore conceded the reality of the math that I talked about in yesterday's Two Cents. We can have all the discussions we want from here until Election Day about the "rich paying their fair share" and "closing corporate tax loopholes". It won't change the basic fact that there are not enough rich people or loopholes to close to pay for all the retirement benefits, the health care, the prescription drugs, the child care, the renewable energy subsidies, the food stamps and the income supplements that have been promised over the past 25-years, without the Middle Class bearing the lion's share of the cost.
And maybe those running for office this year owe it to those of us who will be footing that bill to be honest about what we are going to pay--instead of forcing us to "read between the lines" when the truth sometimes sneaks out.