Let's Not Make a Deal

By:  Nicole Woo

With news of President Obama's efforts to make some Republican BFFs, there are reports that he's trying to make a deal by yet again offering to cut Social Security and other benefits, while at the same time raising income taxes on almost everyone.

This would be done by changing an official measure of inflation to a new index, called the Chained CPI. As CEPR has shown, this change would lead to a painful cut in Social Security benefits and a stealth tax hike, by slowing down annual increases in Social Security and other benefits – including those for veterans, the disabled, and low-income children and their families – as well as income tax brackets. (That would lead to incomes jumping to higher brackets faster, or in other words, tax increases.)

In fact, as Howard Gleckman at the Tax Policy Center recently noted, the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that moving to the Chained CPI "would raise taxes as much as it would cut spending."

Meanwhile, Thomas Edsall wrote in the New York Times that this is essentially a "War on Entitlements." He argues that the "debate... is taking place in a vacuum, without adequate consideration of fundamental facts," and the "very nature of the basic security Americans are entitled to is at stake."

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