You can't make everyone happy because some people are only happy when other people are miserable.
Social Security and Medicare are insurance programs. Calling them "payroll taxes" is a tactic called newspeak. Newspeak is a concept where the state gradually and surreptitiously changes the language so as to promote their statist world view or philosophy. When we begin to accept their words, their definitions, then we begin to think as they desire us to. Because the state started calling our old-age insurance premium a "payroll tax," obviously it means that they are demanding we accept that the following two things are true:
1. If it's a tax then the state can make it a progressive tax i.e. higher earners pay a higher percentage while those below a certain threshold pay nothing at all.
2. If it's a tax, the state is no longer beholden or limited by the heretofore understood terms of the original old-age insurance agreement that we always thought we were paying for with that money. The state is changing the deal. A tax is the state's to do with as it pleases. It doesn't have to save that money and later pay it back to you. They don't have to keep one kind of tax revenue separated from another kind of tax revenue. Taxes are taxes, so they can stuff it all in one pocket. If we didn't buy old age insurance, if we instead paid a tax then the state doesn't owe us anything. When you pay taxes, nothing is promised in return. When you pay for insurance you expect to be covered by the terms of the insurance agreement. Every time you submit to letting them call your old-age insurance premium a tax, you're tacitly agreeing that the state owes you nothing in return for your social security payment, nothing now, and nothing when you get old. Taxes don't buy you anything.
Taxes don't buy you anything. All the services that the government provides are provided to everyone regardless of whether they pay taxes or not. When you go to church, you get the sermon regardless of whether you put money in the collection plate or not. When you call the fire department or the police, you get their services even if you've never paid one penny of tax in your entire life. Both the state and the church give you their services for free. In return, the church expects you to give what you can afford, while the state orders you to pay what they think you can afford.
As we march onward towards the brink of the so-called fiscal cliff it's my opinion that the renaming of social security is a tell. In poker rooms across the world, experienced players examine their opponents constantly for a tell-tale sign that they're holding a winning hand. Maybe it's rapid blinking. Maybe it's ducking the head in. Maybe it's flushed skin or sweat. Maybe it's swallowing or reaching for something to drink, or any of a host of signs that betray the winning cards hidden from view. The government, in renaming social security and calling it a payroll tax, is letting us know that they're no longer beholden to those 65 and older. They're no longer required to adhere to an insurance agreement because there is no insurance and there is no agreement. They can do what they want with your taxes. This fiscal cliff thing that they've let come to pass, this sixteen trillion in debt, these also are tells.
The only thing either side in government will agree to is more of the same. Each side wants to keep its own constituency happy. Reciting facts is pointless when people stick their fingers in their ears and begin chanting: "la-la-la-la." Here's the thing that's been forgotten in all of this: we find ourselves in this terrible economic position because all of us agreed to it. A bargain was struck and everybody agreed that taxes must be cut. Everyone agreed that there must be stimulus money spent. Everyone agreed that unemployment payments must be extended. Everyone agreed that the employee’s portion of the Social Security old-age insurance premium must be cut. Everyone agreed to rename what used to be an insurance premium a payroll tax.
All the signs are there. Entitlements are on the table. Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid—the three biggest expenses in the budget aren't yet in the pot but then again, this hand isn't over yet. If I'm John Boehner or Barack Obama and I want to balance a budget which can't be balanced without raising taxes or lowering spending, then I know that I must raise taxes or lower spending. If we the people don't like either of those two answers we can fire Boehner, but we can't fire Barack Obama. He's got tenure.
Based on what we know, Obama's holding all the aces. This argument about the economy and that not doing something to extend tax rates is like going over a fiscal cliff is a trick. It's a mirage, a bluff. It's fiscal legerdemain. Now that payroll taxes are no longer "insurance premiums," they can change the rules and make payroll taxes progressive, too. That's how they raise taxes and solve the debt crisis. Entitlements are no longer entitled.
The middle class won't care because for them nothing will change. The moderately well-off people will be angry because it will hurt them and them alone. The super rich will absolutely love these new progressive taxes. The higher the better, because it keeps upstarts—the moderately well-off—from threatening to move in next door to them. The poor will like the new progressive payroll tax because finally they will get everything the government provides for the price of absolutely free. Poor people think progressive taxes hurt the super-rich the most. They think that because they're ignorant. They're ignorant because their parents were ignorant, and their parents before them. Some people think stupidity is a superlative. That's why they're poor and why they'll always be poor.
I don't have the answers but I have a few opinions. What's happening in January isn't the fiscal cliff; the fiscal cliff is what happens if we keep borrowing and printing money to pay the bills. Going over that fiscal cliff is a form of gradually accelerating suicide. We have to cut entitlements and I think that's what they're going to do. Everyone will be worried about it. There will probably be protests and riots. Some politicians will get fired, but most won't. It may solve the problem, but it probably won't. What is needed in Washington is a cadre of patriots. What we have instead is a crowd of power-mad ideologues with the worst case of procrastination dependency in our national history.
We've been in worse situations before this. The danger now, is that when we were in this much trouble before, we were a Christian nation. We were a patriotic nation. We cared about our Christian values and our freedoms and we valued the same concepts that our founding fathers valued. We were sisters and brothers. Today that's just not the case. There aren't that many Christians or patriots left. We're no longer brothers and sisters. We're women vs. men. We're blacks vs. Hispanics vs. whites. We're straights vs. gays. Birthers, flat-earthers, and Christians vs. Scientists and Atheists. America has become Satan's Lollapalooza. This too is a tell. Obama may have a handful of aces but it's the Devil who's been dealing, and he deals from the bottom of the deck.
The approaching bankruptcy of the entire world is a tell. The celebration of homosexual marriage is a tell. The legalization of drugs across America is a tell. Iran with nuclear weapons is a tell. The final hand is about to be dealt. These are the cards I see on the table: At some point after sufficient economic turmoil the state will contract like a python around the private sector. Healthcare will be nationalized. Retirement IRA's and 401 K accounts will be nationalized. Banks will become state banks. They'll stop printing paper money. Instead, a national ID card that also serves as your debit card will be issued. The freedom to speak will become restricted while drugs and every manner of fornication and abomination will become celebrated.
16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: 17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.