But as Nancy Altman of Social Security works explains
"This could eventually lead to the unraveling of Social Security," says Altman, a co-chair of the advocacy group Social Security Works.
She says it might look like a harmless one-year boost for struggling Americans. But Altman is certain Republicans will try to make the payroll tax cut permanent, which, she says, could lead to trouble for Social Security.
"The Bush tax cuts were supposed to be 10 years," she says. "And we see now that it's very hard once a tax cut is in place to repeal it. The fear is that once this cut is made it becomes permanent and all of a sudden Social Security's shortfall, which is very manageable at this point, would actually double."
When Republicans (who already are thought to be reconsidering their skepticism about extension of the payroll tax cut) get around to making the payroll tax permanent, they will make sure that the money is not replaced by funds from the general budget. That change, possibly sufficiently subtle to pass under the radar of all but Social Security activists, would be made whether with a GOP president or the acquiescence of a Democratic president.
So I was wrong, and Wolf Blitzer is uninformed, about the most popular government program in American history. No doubt he will acknowledge his shortcoming promptly.