Jackie Calmes reports in the New York Times (2/23/09):
The president signaled in his campaign that he would support addressing the retirement system's looming financing shortfall, in part by applying payroll taxes to incomes above $250,000. But that would ignite intense opposition from Republicans, especially with the economy deep in recession.
Liberal Democrats are already serving notice that they will be equally vehement in opposing any reductions in scheduled benefits for future retirees. But any solution, budget analysts said, must include a mix of both approaches, though current beneficiaries would see no change.
Really? Budget analysts said it was impossible to balance Social Security's books without tax increases and benefit cuts? That's odd, considering that Social Security's 75-year shortfall amounts to about 1/300th of projected GDP. Were these the same budget analysts who described a system that is projected to need help paying its obligations starting in 2041 as having a "looming financing shortfall"?