Letter to Barack H. Obama, President of the United States - Cuts to Social Security Revenue


Dear Mr. President

As recovery efforts subside and unacceptably high unemployment continues to devastate our communities, we are pleased that the debt ceiling negotiations seem to be considering jobs as well as how to responsibly reduce spending. However, we remain gravely concerned that yet another, unacceptable cut to Social Security's revenue stream appears to be on the table.

Enemies of Social Security reject valid proposals to give the same level of tax relief to the same Americans or American businesses without using the Social Security revenue stream and resultant general fund transfers. As alternative measures would have the same net effect on deficits and the economy, there is simply no need to negotiate cuts to Social Security taxes.

Despite their strong support for the program itself, the American people are cynical when it comes to politicians' handling of Social Security. They have been told that the program is going bankrupt and that the only way to save the country from the debt crisis is to slash promised benefits. Whether the calculations are economic, political, or simply out of a sincere effort to make a deal, the price paid in breaking faith with the American people is too high. Making it easier for enemies of Social Security to attack the program will surely outweigh any short term political or economic benefit of a deal that includes extending the current payroll tax cut or expanding it to include employers.

The current cut in Social Security contributions must be allowed to expire as scheduled. History instructs that any tax cut is politically difficult to terminate. As you know, although the Bush tax cuts were only supposed to last ten years, the debate of today is centered on whether to permanently extend most or permanently extend all of the Bush tax cuts. We are greatly concerned that a permanent extension of the 2011 payroll tax cut would double Social Security's long-range shortfall and make long-term solutions nearly impossible.

Americans' contributions to Social Security should be used for Americans' Social Security benefits. To do otherwise flies in the face of the time-tested wisdom of this program, which was established with an independent revenue stream to protect the retirement earnings of America's workers from budgetary politics. We respectfully request that you reject any proposal that includes an extension or expansion of the payroll tax cut.


Theodore E. Deutch
Lloyd Doggett
Mark S. Critz
John Conyers, Jr.
George Miller
Edward J. Markey
Barney Frank
Marcy Kaptur
Peter J. Visclosky
Peter A. DeFazio
Louise McIntosh Slaughter
John Lewis
Donald M. Payne
Rosa L. DeLauro
John W. Olver
Jerrold Nadler
Corrine Brown
Bob Filner
Gene Green
Louis V. Gutierrez
Alcee L. Hastings
Maurice D. Hinchey
Carolyn B. Maloney
Bobby Rush
Lynn C. Woolsey
Bennie Thompson
Sam Farr
Mike Doyle
Jesse Jackson, Jr.
James P. McGovern
Danny K. Davis
Dennis J. Kucinich
Raul M. Grijalva
Rush D. Holt
Rick Larsen
Barbara Lee
Grace F. Napolitano
David Wu
Joe Baca
Michael H. Michaud
Tim Ryan
Gwen Moore
Yvette D. Clarke
Steve Cohen
Keith Ellison
Betty Sutton
Peter Welch
Andre Carson
Donna F. Edwards
Marcia L. Fudge
Chellic Pingree
Paul D. Tonko
Judy Chu
John Garamendi
Frederica S. Wilson
Hansen Clarke
Robert A. Brady
Wm. Lacy Clay
Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan
Maxine Waters
Elijah E. Cummings
Jim McDermott