Thursday, February 11, 2016

Clinton Waffles on Social Security (AGAIN) at 6th Debate

During the 6th Democratic debate, while wrapping herself around President Obama (again) to pander for the black vote, she falsely accused Bernie Sanders of bashing Obama.

During the segment about Social Security, Bernie reminded her that SHE TOO sometimes disagreed with a president, and had pointed out that when Obama was first running for president, she had disagreed with his plan about raising the cap for Social Security (See text below the video).

Hillary had claimed in 2008 that raising the cap would raise taxes on, what she believes to be, the middle-class — when it would only have raised taxes on very high income earners. She must feel the same way today.

The video below is the full 4 minutes Bernie and Hillary spent at the debate last night on the subject about Social Security.

Bernie has a plan to expand Social Security by lifting the cap (just like Obama did in 2008), but also by taxing investment income (capital gains) a little more — raising the rate from 23.8% to 30% (just 6.2% higher) — which is still lower than the top tax rate of 39.6% for regular wages.

Hillary claimed she never saw Bernie's plan, even though it's very easy to find online (one is here at Social Security); and Clinton's plan is very wordy but lacking in $$$ details. (How does her pal Paul Krugman evaluate her plan?)

  1. She doesn't specially say she wants to lift the cap, and if so, by how much.
  2. She doesn't specifically mention raising the tax rate for capital gains, and if so, by how much.

Flashback to the Philadelphia primary debate on Apr 16, 2008

MODERATOR: Would you take a pledge of no tax increases on people under $250,000?

OBAMA: I not only have pledged not to raise their taxes, I would cut their taxes. We are going to offset the payroll tax, the most regressive of our taxes.

CLINTON: I don’t want to raise taxes on anybody. I’m certainly against one of Senator Obama’s ideas, which is to lift the cap on the payroll tax, because that would impose additional taxes on people who are educators, police officers, firefighters and the like.

OBAMA: What I have proposed is that we raise the cap on the payroll tax, because right now millionaires and billionaires don’t have to pay beyond $97,000 a year. Now most firefighters and teachers, they’re not making over $100,000 a year. In fact, only 6% of the population does. And I’ve also said that I’d be willing to look at exempting people who are making slightly above that. [Those are my links when I fact-checked Obama, and he was correct on both counts.]

MODERATOR: But that’s a tax on people under $250,000.

OBAMA: That’s why I would look at potentially exempting those who are in between.

OBAMA: [to Clinton]: I think we should be honest in presenting our ideas in terms of how we’re going to stabilize the Social Security system and not just say that we’re going to form a commission and try to solve the problem some other way.

CLINTON: I am totally committed to making sure Social Security is solvent. You’ve got to begin to reign in the budget, pay as you go, to try to replenish our Social Security Trust Fund. And with all due respect, the last time we had a crisis in Social Security was 1983. President Reagan and Speaker Tip O’Neill came up with a commission. That was the best and smartest way, because you’ve got to get Republicans and Democrats together. That’s what I will do. And I will say, #1, don’t cut benefits on current beneficiaries — they’re already having a hard enough time. And #2, do not impose additional tax burdens on middle-class families.

OBAMA: That commission raised the retirement age, and also raised the payroll tax. So Senator Clinton can’t have it both ways.

Even today in 2016, Clinton still calls people earning $250,000 a year "middle-class" when that is in the top 1% of wage earners. The median wage in 2014 was only $28,851 a year (meaning, 50% earned more and 50% earned less).

Fact Checks

During the debate with Obama, Hillary Clinton exaggerated (like she does now) when she said that lifting the cap on wages that are subject to the Social Security tax would impose additional taxes on people who were teachers, police officers, firefighters, etc.

In fact, at that time, only individuals earning more than $102,000 a year would be affected. A spokesman for the union representing Philadelphia’s public school teachers told “There are some affluent suburban districts where only the most senior educators with a master’s degree and probably 25 or more years of experience whose salaries might approach 100k. However, I think that’s a very small number overall.“

As for Philadelphia police officers, an officer would have to work more than 1,200 hours of overtime in a year to push even the highest base salary above $102,000.

Clinton called Obama’s proposal to raise Social Security taxes on annual earnings over $97,500 “a trillion-dollar increase on middle class families.” Obama defended his proposal: “Only 6% of Americans make more than $97,000 — so 6% is not the middle class — it’s the upper class.”

Clinton responded that some of her constituents would still find the increase burdensome. “I represent firefighters. I represent school supervisors,” she said when a senator from New York. But the base pay of an NYC firefighter at that time was $68,475 after 5 years on the job. So Clinton was being very misleading (or ignorant) to suggest that a rank-and-file firefighter would be affected.

* Google "Bud Meyers Social Security" or "Bud Meyers disability" for more of my posts on this subject.

1 comment:

  1. Hillary's own endorsers also disagrees with Obama...