The Quiet Man But now, thanks to the disappearance of the budget surplus, the excess revenue collected by the payroll tax isn’t being used to acquire assets, or even to pay down the federal debt; it’s being used to cover deficits elsewhere in the budget. We’re not talking small numbers here; only about 70 cents of each dollar in Social Security revenue is used to pay current benefits. In effect, the other 30 cents has now been expropriated for other uses ā€” mainly tax cuts for the richest few percent of the population.

Was this what Mr. Greenspan intended ā€” to raise taxes on the poor and the middle class, so that they could be cut for the rich? If not, why doesn’t he say something? After all, a word from him could alter the landscape of economic debate, just as it did a year ago.

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