What exactly does the tax cut bill compromise?

President Obama and the Republicans have agreed to a tax cut bill because they had to, and now we’ll see if congressional Democrats agree to the deal. Media reports indicate that, in all likelihood, opponents of the plan simply don’t have the votes.

But this was no mere extension of the Bush tax credits. The deal includes a 2 percent reduction in the payroll tax that workers pay to finance Social Security. General revenues – which were $1.4 trillion in the hole this year – will supposedly make up the balance.

So we’ve exchanged using Social Security surpluses to plug part of the holes in the budget for using the budget to plug holes in Social Security. Once again, we’re compromising our future.

It never ends, does it? Until, as Greece and Ireland have found it, it has to.

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