An outspoken and respected House liberal is concerned that President Obama's tax cut plan will pose more than one threat to Social Security.
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Progressive advocates, and a wide swath of the Democratic party, oppose Obama's call for a partial employee payroll tax holiday. Not because they don't want workers to have extra cash in their pocket, but because they worry that a supposedly temporary payroll tax rate will become the new normal and jeopardize Social Security in the long run. Next year, they worry, Republicans will characterize allowing the holiday to lapse as a "tax hike" on workers, and Dems will be cowed into extending it.
Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) shares that fear. But even if things don't shake out that way, he says, treating the funding mechanism for Social Security as a variable that can be tweaked to fund stimulus or reduce deficits will erode Social Security's status as the third rail of American politics, and leave it vulnerable to future attacks from the right.