Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Progressives and Regressives

Many smart people (and many others) refer to the Bush tax cuts as "the most regressive in American history." Yet, many of the same folks say very little about Social Security and the payroll tax.

What do we know?

1. The payroll tax is the fastest rising federal tax.
2. The payroll tax is the most regressive federal tax -- worst if you are minority with shorter life expectancy.
3. The Social Security and Medicare entitlements represent multi-trillion dollar unfunded liabilities with dim prospects in light of reasonable economic and demographic extrapolations.

What, then, do the "Progressives" who fret over regressive income tax cuts have to say about all this? That they will "fight to protect Social Security", e.g. the untenable status quo.

For all of the Republicans' faults, by making the "Ownership Society" a part of the platform, they are, at least, offering a discussion of alternatives to the untenable status quo. Self-directed savings that are actually vested and that can be willed to heirs and others are an incredibly attractive alternative to the untenable status quo.