Social Security guru Andrew Biggs make a great point about Obama's evermorphing plan to hike payroll taxes over at his SS-themed blog:
Sens. McCain and Obama are both in a bit of a fix here, although Obama worse than McCain. McCain can reject tax increases and still more or less fix Social Security, say through a combination of raising the retirement age and progressive benefit reductions for high-earning retirees. (If you let the NRA rise to 70 by 2080 or so, you could do a benefit reduction that shielded the bottom half of the earnings distribution from cuts.) The prospects for political success may be limited, but he can at least put together a plan that's plausible as policy.
Obama's in a bit deeper: His plan to hit earners making over $250,000 would fix maybe 15 percent of the long-term deficit, and he's rejected raising the retirement age or cutting benefits. Where does the other 85 percent (much less the additional fixes needed to make the system sustainable beyond 75 years) come from? If someone has an idea how they plan on making this work, please let me know.