Friday, February 18, 2005

President Bush doesn't oppose sensible Social Security reform:

President Bush is not ruling out raising taxes on people who earn more than $90,000 as a way to help fix Social Security's finances....

Asked directly, Bush said he would not bar raising the $90,000 cap, although he does not want to see the payroll tax rate go up.

"The one thing I'm not open-minded about is raising the payroll tax rate. And all the other issues go on the table," Bush said in the interview, according to an account in Wednesday's New Haven (Conn.) Register.

No -- he doesn't oppose that.

He has flunkies to oppose it for him:

Flunky #1:

... Cheney seemed to suggest that was not an option.

"We cannot tax our way out of this problem," Cheney said to cheers from some of the administration's core supporters at the CPAC meeting. "We must not increase payroll taxes on American workers. Higher taxes would only buy time and then future Congresses would need to come back and raise taxes again and again on our children and grandchildren."

Flunkies #2 and #3:

The two senior Republicans in the House, Rep. Tom DeLay of Texas, the majority leader, and Rep. J. Dennis Hastert of Illinois, the speaker, indicated that raising the income limit subject to payroll taxes would be considered a tax increase on workers and their employers....

Asked if Bush's opening the door to consideration of lifting the wage cap would make it easier to get legislation moving in the House, DeLay replied: "No. Because we're not going to do that."

Asked why, DeLay replied, "That's a tax increase." Asked if it would be acceptable to his caucus, DeLay replied, "Nope, not at all."

Bush gets to seem high-minded and bipartisan, for the few suckers in America who still believe he's a nice guy. And then these guys go out and tell us what the White House really thinks.

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