The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein writes that the AARP has drawn the line on payroll tax cuts, which have been extended in an attempt to boost the economy but which, in the view of AARP and others across the spectrum, threaten to undermine Social Security as a self-financing program generating “earned benefits” for participants.
“When Congress agreed to extend payroll taxes by another year in 2011, it did so by replacing the lost funds with general revenue for the first time in history. That addressed some policymakers’ concerns about the Social Security Trust Fund’s insolvency. But it was a worrisome step for the AARP and other Social Security advocates, who believed it undermined the entitlement program’s protected status, lumping it in with a general budget that could be subject to future cuts and trade-offs. ”Social Security is a separate, off-budget program, with a dedicated funding source—messing with the formula shouldn’t even be a part of the budget debate,” Certner added. “The promise of this was that it would be temporary. Going beyond two years—you’re going way beyond temporary country.’”