Here is another reason Republicans are sadly our best hope for protecting Social Security. The powerful conservative group Americans For Tax Reform, founded by Grover Norquist, called chained-CPI a middle class tax increase. Supporting it would be a violation of the tax pledge most Congressional Republicans have signed. From Americans For Tax Reform:
On the tax side, all income tax brackets are subject to inflation. Slowing down the inflation rate slows down the annual rate of growth in all income tax brackets.
This means the Obama budget contains a tax increase on 100 percent of middle class taxpayers—anyone who pays the federal income tax. [...]
Chained CPI as a stand-alone measure (that is, not paired with tax relief of equal or greater size) is a tax increase and a Taxpayer Protection Pledge violation. Various reports peg the tax increase amount as exceeding $100 billion over the next decade.
Even if President Obama offers Republicans just chained-CPI outside of a grand bargain, it would still be labeled a tax increase and have a difficult time garnering Republican voters.
As it currently stands Republicans are the only thing indirectly stopping Social Security benefits from being cut. Nancy Pelosi’s pathetic statement on Obama’s budget makes it clear the House Democratic leadership is willing to stand with the President on Social Security cuts despite it being opposed by almost the entirety of their base.
Photo by Gage Skidmore released under Creative Commons License