Tax Hikes ‘On Table’ to Pay $7 Trillion Social Security Shortfall, D.C. Del. Says
August 15, 2008 - 4:36 PMD.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton said that raising taxes is “on the table” as a means to pay for the $7 trillion Social Security budget shortfall.
"I'm with Barack (Obama) -- everything is on the table except privatization,” Norton said Thursday. “We know that [privatization] drives -- takes away money from Social Security, but everything else is on the table."
Holmes spoke with CNSNews.com outside the Republican National Committee building near Capitol Hill at a street-side event to celebrate Social Security’s 73rd “birthday.”
According to the General Accountability Office, “in 2017 the Social Security cash flow turns negative—at that point the choices will be increased borrowing from the public, reduced spending, or increased revenue.”
“The federal government for years has been borrowing the surpluses in the Social Security trust funds and other similar funds and using them to finance federal government costs which has created $7 trillion in unfunded liabilities," it said.
The report further says that “projected expenditures for scheduled benefits exceed earmarked revenues (i.e., dedicated payroll taxes and premiums) by approximately $7 trillion over the next 75 years in present value terms.”
"I don't think there should be a plan that does not bring us all together to decide on the plan, and frankly, I wish that this was like, I don't know, climate change where I really do think things can be done," said Norton.
Both presumed presidential candidates have different plans for Social Security reform. According to Obama's campaign Web site, he would "ask those making over $250,000 to pay in the range of 2 to 4 percent more in total (combined employer and employee)" payroll taxes to help protect the Social Security welfare program. This change to Social Security "would start a decade or more from now," the Web site says.
Republican Sen. John McCain's campaign Web site says he supports "supplementing the current Social Security system with personal accounts -- but not as a substitute for addressing benefit promises that cannot be kept."
In addition to Norton, “Shadow Senator” Paul Strauss, a non-voting member of the U.S. Senate who lobbies Congress on behalf of Washington, D.C., residents and is an Obama superdelegate, was present at the event with a group of Democratic supporters.
Strauss led a charge to the door of the Republican National Committee (RNC) building to present a signed birthday card for Social Security to McCain, urging him not to privatize the program.
Members of the RNC staff and security locked the door and refused to let their own employees enter the building from the front door until the Democratic contingent left.