RUSH: I mentioned this shortly after the election, earlier this month. I admittedly didn’t spend a whole lot of time on it because I wasn’t sure how accurate it was, but now the story has reappeared in the Washington Times today. “The Bush administration has sent signals since last month’s elections that the president is prepared to accept some tax increases on upper-income families, worrying congressional Republicans and fiscal conservative watchdogs who say he will compromise with Democrats to win a legacy accomplishment. … The watchdog groups have been demanding that the president repeat his earlier pledges not to raise taxes in order to reform Social Security. But the White House has refused, with officials saying everything is on the table, including tax increases.”
Let me tell you what this is about. This is about Social Security. The president gave a shot at Social Security reform, the old private accounts gang; it didn’t work because there’s this word in Social Security, “security,” and the recipients really believe in that word, and when they hear “private accounts,” it conflicted with “security.” It was a valiant effort. I was all for it. It was a great plan. That’s the only way we’re ever going to really solve the problem, but the marketing of it just didn’t succeed. So the president has two years left. There’s gotta be something done here. I’m going to miss these numbers. I’m not going to get ’em exact because I don’t remember the story in that much detail from shortly after the election. But right now the current ceiling on income that is taxed under Social Security is around $94,000. It’s going to go up to $191,000. They’re talking about that and raising the rates.
Again, correct me if I’m wrong, because as an entrepreneur and an equity player and an asset owner, I pay it all when it comes to Social Security, as everybody else does. I love this term, “Well, yes, the employer matches your Social Security contribution.” That’s BS! You’re paying it all. Don’t anybody call and argue with me about this. The notion is that you’re paying 7.5% — that’s what your FICA is — and the employer (God, what a great guy!), he is matching your donation at 7.5%. But you are paying it all because whatever it costs the evil boss to hire, whether you see it or not, is what you are being paid. It’s the same thing with your health care benefits and you are 24/7 family medical leave, whatever it is. It’s all costing somebody that much to hire you. You may not see it all in your paycheck. Anyway, I pay the whole thing. I think it’s 12% now or somewhere around there, or 15%.
At this point, I’m so frustrated, I just sign the check. Anyway, they’re thinking of raising that rate — to what, I don’t know. This has long been an effort by the Democrats. Even while we’ve cut income taxes for the vast majority of the middle class, Democrats are saying, “That doesn’t mean anything. It’s the Social Security tax! Why, that’s where the rich are getting off scot-free, because after $94,000, they don’t pay anything and most people don’t earn $94,000, so most people are paying a larger share of the freight on Social Security.” My attitude is that it’s about time the middle class paid their fair share of taxes, but that’s another story for another program and another time and another day. This is something that is being looked at as a stopgap, but here’s the problem.
Even with (if I’m remembering this right) the new ceiling at $191,000 — and not instantly; it would take years to escalate to that, but it would eventually get there — that’s not going to save the program. That’s not going to save it. This is just typical temporary passing the buck. Now, I have no sympathy for Republicans in Congress, as this story describes them, being apoplectic or, what do they say? They’re “worried,” because this will be a “compromise with Democrats to win a legacy accomplishment.” Look, when the president tried to do this, if he had a little help from the people in his own party, who knows if it might not have had more success. I’m not crazy about this plan, either, don’t misunderstand, but I have no sympathy for people who sit around sucking their thumbs for two or four years while the president was taking on hard things and wasn’t getting a whole lot of support, particularly over in the Senate.
So if these guys are going to act like crybabies, “You can’t do that to us! You can’t do that to us!”
Yeah? Well, where were you when the time came to get tough?”