masthead-highres

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Be Fair to New York Plan

A Democratic Congressman is following Dan Rostenkowski's advice and proposing a Social Security rescue plan.

The Congressman is Robert Wexler, who represents the 19th District of Florida, containing parts of Palm Beach and Broward counties. According to the Population Research Center, Palm Beach County has on a percentage basis more residents over 64, 23.2%, than any other county in America. Broward County is fifth, with 16.1% of its residents over 64.

So I guess it isn't hard to figure out why Rep. Wexler is interested in Social Security, and apparently isn't buying into the "Social Security isn't in crisis" rhetoric so popular among other liberals.

It might also lead you to think Wexler might be tempted to avoid proposals suggesting reductions in future Social Security benefit increases, and grasp instead for tax increases on the non-retired.

In this supposition, you would not be surprised.

Wexler's plan consists of a tax increase for workers earning over $90,000 per year. Specifically, Wexler would have the government take 3 percent of income over $90,000 directly from the employee and "tax the employer" 3 percent of the employee's earnings over $90,000.

Other merits of the plan (if any) notwithstanding, so-called "taxes on the employer" are a scam. It is a trick played by the government on the people. Employers hire an employee only if they believe that employee's workplace contribution is worth what it costs to pay him. Whether the employer pays the employee first, and then the government takes the money, or the government takes the money before the employee even sees it, doesn't matter much to the employer. Money is money. But many employees think their taxes are less because they never see the money they earn that is paid to the government directly in so-called "employer's" taxes.

As I said, a government trick designed to deceive taxpayers.

(Next time you visit the website of a liberal "ethics in government" group, see if they have any documents advocating elimination of deceitful "tax on employer' scams. If you find any, email me, please.)

While I'm on the topic of unfairness, here's another thing I think is unfair: The value of a dollar is not the same everywhere in America. $90,000 does not go very far in Manhattan, compared to how far it goes in Kansas (and pretty much everywhere else). So Congressman Wexler's proposal, generally speaking, would hit Manhattanites harder than nearly every other American.

I'm not a New Yorker, never have been a New Yorker, and probably will go to my grave never having lived in New York, so I have no conflict of interest when I ask you, dear readers: Is this fair to New Yorkers?

So with all due respect to Rep. Wexler, who at least -- nearly alone among national Democrats -- is willing to offer suggestions for solving the Social Security crisis, I suggest the rest of America stand shoulder-to-shoulder with New York and tell Rep. Wexler: Thanks -- but no thanks.

Instead, let's be fair. Let's enact a flat rate federal income tax and solve the Social Security crisis with personal retirement accounts.

We could call it the "Be Fair to New York Plan." I presume Hillary will love it.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:22 PM

Copyright The National Center for Public Policy Research