Policy

Sen. Claire McCaskill: Against Social Security Cuts. For a Big Tax Increase?

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Happy to object to proposals that probably won't be made.

No serious plans to modify Social Security benefits appear up for discussion, but that isn't stopping Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill from declaring preemptive opposition just in case anyone is interested in reforming the program. In a letter to supporters published yesterday by TPM, she writes: "I don't think anyone is going to propose cutting Social Security benefits—if they do, I'll vote against those cuts."

OK! Good to know. I take it, then, that she's for a big tax increase.

How's that? Right now, the federally funded entitlement program is facing $7 trillion in unfunded liabilities—meaning that eventually it won't be able to cover its full payments. As Charles Blahaus, one of Social Security's public trustees, explained recently, the current mismatch of projected revenues and payment obligations mean that eventually some sort of change will be necessary: "You're either for changes to the benefit formula, or you're for big tax increases on the next generation. If you oppose benefit formula changes on the grounds that they are 'cuts,' then you are for big tax increases. Period." Always helpful to be clear on where our elected leaders stand.