What's the real reason for the Social Security anal rape?
Okay, so this is only a theory, and I'm sure I'm not the only one to come up with it, but bear with me and see what you think.
Part of the reason the economy is shaky is because we're running these huge-ass deficits with no end of them in sight. China et al are going to get tired of lending us trillions of dollars at low interest rates unless we get our shit together--like any lender, they're going to start demanding a premium from us because we're becoming a higher risk. Any attempt at raising income taxes on the wealthy or on corporations will be DOA in Congress--too many of the wingnuts in control of the House actually believe the supply-side rhetoric or are willing to risk their seats, especially since the Club for Growth and Norquist will ratfuck them publicly if they try it.
But the fact is that Bush needs money from somewhere to keep up his plans for creating a secret lair in a hollowed out volcano. Which brings us to Social Security.
Ever since 1983, when Social Security really was in serious trouble and Reagan/Greenspan/Congress made the pledge to raise rates on payroll taxes to stabilize the system, the Social Security system has been running a surplus--a pretty massive one, as a matter of fact--and Congress has been using that surplus to fund their pet projects and regular government spending. It's no secret that payroll taxes hit the poorest the hardest, but since the securing of Social Security was supposed to be the end result, most people went along with it.
Fast forward to 2004, and all of a sudden, we have another so-called crisis--only this time the "crisis" won't actually come for forty years, if it comes at all. So why now? And why the sudden willingness to consider raising the income cap, when up till now Bush has been adamantly opposed to any type of tax raise?
Short answer--it's an easy way to get a cash infusion while "moderate" Democrats give him cover in the name of saving Social Security, and he'll be able to do it on the backs of the upper middle class without substantially hurting his financial base (the haves and the have-mores), all the while doing nothing to help resolve the crisis that isn't. After all, it's not like any larger surplus that Social Security would run would go into a lockbox any more than previous surpluses have--it'll go into the general fund and we'll issue bonds for it just like we have for the last 20 years. The one difference is that Bush will have more money to pass along to his buddies and the working poor will have less, because we'll be paying more to secure a system that doesn't need it. In a Republican administration, this is called a win-win situation.
I guess my main question is whether this was what Bush and his cronies had planned all along--talk up a crisis, act like they wanted to get rid of the system, and when that failed, have blowing the caps as a backup that everyone would go along with. They've gone at it obliquely, but they just may get it--if it didn't piss me off so much, I might admire the sheer brilliance of the plan.