Janice “Jay” Johnson: Cutting Social Security is a dangerous calculation

Sen. Mark Warner and the “Gang of Six” are close to a debt reduction deal and it looks like there will be substantial cuts to programs like Social Security.

There is no denying that reducing the deficit is important, especially after the problematic recent Standard and Poors rating. But the question is, how. I have a couple suggestions for the Gang of Six.

1.) Social Security does not contribute a penny to the deficit; it should not be cut to reduce the deficit. The program has a $2.6 trillion surplus. With modest, reasonable reforms like scrapping the pay roll tax cap, all promised benefits can be paid. Not only is the program efficient and cost effective to run, Social Security lifts 20 million Americans out of poverty.

2.) Let the Bush tax cuts expire and ask corporations to pay their fair share. The Bush tax cuts will cost us nearly $1 trillion to keep in place for the next 10 years. This amounts to 1/6 of the deficit reduction proposed in the House Republican budget proposal. Meanwhile, we have recently been reminded that many corporations pay no taxes at all. In fact, sometimes we pay them. Bank of America received a $1.9 billion refund from the IRS. GE received $4.1 billion from the IRS even though they have recently sent 1/5 of their jobs overseas.

Any reasonable look at our deficit problems must include closing corporate tax loopholes and must not gut vital programs like Social Security, relied on by millions of seniors like myself.

Janice “Jay” Johnson is the treasurer of Virginia Organizing.

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