Payroll Tax Cut
Today the House passed the Conference Report for H.R. 3630: Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act of 2011. Although there are several items in the bill that I support, the main reason I voted against the bill was my concern about its impact on the future of Social Security.
I have always fought for a thoughtful and progressive government Ė one that supports individual initiative, but that also does its very best to make sure no one is left to starve or freeze. I believe firmly in the principles behind Social Security, Medicare, senior housing, fuel assistance, tuition assistance, school lunch programs and so many other programs like the ones listed here. But at all times I have also argued for fiscal responsibility Ė from government and from citizens.
When I was Mayor of Somerville we were required to balance the budget and to live within our means. Those requirements applied during good times and bad and they still apply today.
In my family, we apply the same principles of fiscal responsibility. Pay your bills. If you cannot afford something, donít buy it.
Of course there are exceptions Ö purchasing a home, losing a job, unexpected illness, student loans, and the occasional tough times when you have to max out the credit card. Some debt is normal and expected and even responsible.
Over the last several years America has faced tough economic times. I agreed that we had to invest during these times to fight our way back to fiscal health. Thatís why I voted to save American auto manufacturers and our banking system. I even voted for some targeted tax cuts so that people would have a few more dollars to spend for themselves and our economy.
But I believe the time has come to start our march back to basics Ė it is time to start paying our bills. If we want to keep Social Security Ė we have to pay for it. We need to stop borrowing money from foreign governments to feed our fiscal irresponsibility.
This is why I voted against the extension of the payroll tax cut today.
This bill will put America $100 billion further into debt. Simply put, it will undermine the principle of Social Security, a bedrock program that has been in place for decades.
I understand that everyone could use the $20 - $40 per week this bill provides. And there are other measures in this bill that I could support. But I believe it is time we accept our responsibilities to fund Social Security and time to get serious about our deficit. Borrowing $100 billion to extend another tax cut is not the way to do it.
No amendments were allowed on the Conference Report. Given the choice we had, which was either everyone gets a tax cut or we pay our Social Security bill, I chose the approach that I thought was the most responsible one.
For me, the message of this bill was simple... itís okay to keep adding to the deficit as long as itís for a tax cut. Well, thatís not okay to me. I voted NO. The bill passed and the entire vote is recorded below:
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