Monday, September 22, 2008

Now here’s something strange (Obama changes stance on retirement age?)

The intrepid investigators at have made an interesting find using Versionista, a web tool that allows you to compare current versions of a web page with prior versions. Check it out – here's some text from the old version that was deleted:

Obama will protect Social Security benefits for current and future beneficiaries alike. And he does not believe it is necessary or fair to hardworking seniors to raise the retirement age. Obama is strongly opposed to privatizing Social Security.

Obama believes that the first place to look for ways to strengthen Social Security is the payroll tax system. Currently, the Social Security payroll tax applies to only the first $97,500 a worker makes. Obama supports increasing the maximum amount of earnings covered by Social Security and he will work with Congress and the American people to choose a payroll tax reform package that will keep Social Security solvent for at least the next half century.

Now here's the replacement text:

They will work with members of Congress from both parties to strengthen Social Security and prevent privatization while protecting middle class families from tax increases or benefit cuts. As part of a bipartisan plan that would be phased in over many years, they will ask those making over $250,000 to contribute a bit more to Social Security to keep it sound.

Obama does not support uncapping the full payroll tax of 12.4 percent rate. Instead, he and Joe Biden are considering plans that would ask those making over $250,000 to pay in the range of 2 to 4 percent more in total (combined employer and employee).

Among other things, what's missing? "He does not believe it is necessary or fair to hardworking seniors to raise the retirement age."

If true, I'm glad Obama is showing some flexibility, given how little of the long-term problem his current tax plan would address. But given the election season, this may be another example of no good deed going unpunished. Certainly, had McCain made a similar change the opposition and the press would be all over it.

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