Want to cure millennials' financial woes? Reform the payroll tax.

Sharon McCutcheon / Unsplash

In early June, the Social Security and Medicare trustees released their annual report on the fiscal health of these programs, and the situation looks dire. Medicare is scheduled to run out of money in 2026 (three years sooner than anticipated), while Social Security is expected to run out in 2034. The rising national debt is only one of the well-known financial struggles the millennial generation faces. The burdens of student loan debt, high housing prices (thanks to zoning restrictions), stagnant wage growth, the rising cost of healthcare and lingering aftershocks of the Great Recession are among the biggest sources of economic anxiety millennials feel.

Progressive politicians have been very successful at courting the youth vote, partly because they actually promote policy ideas that address many of these concerns. As unrealistic or counterproductive as Senator Bernie Sanders' proposals for single-payer health care or a $15 an hour minimum wage might be, they feel in theory like they would provide the economic stability and prosperity millennials want.

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Republicans, on the other hand, have struggled to craft a message to address these concerns. Fiscal conservatives recognize, correctly, that the burden of the $20 trillion national debt and over $200 trillion in unfunded liabilities will fall on millennials. Some conservatives have even written books about that fact. But the need to reform entitlements hasn't exactly caught millennials' attention. Pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson, in her book The Selfie Vote, notes that millennials generally view protecting the safety net as more important than reducing the deficit.

Clearly, Republicans have a problem. They need to craft solutions that address the millennial generation's struggles, but they can't seem to sell entitlement reform, their biggest policy preference that addresses those problems. The Republican approach to wooing millennials on policy is failing because talking about stopping the debt from reaching an unsustainable level is long-term and abstract, and offers few immediate tangible benefits. A new approach to both pave the way for entitlement reform and give millennials an immediate financial boost is to first reform not entitlement spending, but the payroll tax: specifically, by partially (or wholly) replacing it with a value-added tax.

Under the current Social Security model, workers pay for the benefits of current retirees through the payroll tax. This system creates the illusion of a pension program, in which what you put in is what you get out, but in reality Social Security is a universal safety net program for the elderly paid for by taxes. The payroll tax falls on workers and is a tax on labor, while the value-added tax (VAT) is a tax on consumption imposed at every part of the production process. Assuming that this policy change is revenue-neutral, switching to a VAT will shift the responsibility for funding Social Security and Medicare away from workers, disproportionately poorer and younger, and onto everyone participating in the economy as a whole. Furthermore, uncoupling Social Security funding from payroll taxes would pave the way for fiscal reforms to transform the program from a universal benefit program to one geared specifically to eliminating old-age poverty, such as means-testing benefits for high-income beneficiaries, indexing benefits to prices rather than wages or changing the retirement age.

Switching from the payroll tax to the VAT would address both conservative and liberal tax policy preferences.

Switching from the payroll tax to the VAT would address both conservative and liberal tax policy preferences. As the Tax Policy Center notes, the change would actually make the tax system more progressive. The current payroll tax is regressive, meaning that people with lower incomes tend to pay a higher effective tax rate than people with higher incomes. On the other hand, the value-added tax is much closer to proportional than the payroll tax, meaning that each income group pays closer to the same effective tax rate.

For Republicans, such a change would fit conservative economic ideas about the long-run causes of economic growth. A value-added tax has a much broader base than the payroll tax, and therefore would allow for much lower marginal tax rates, and lower marginal tax rates mean smaller disincentives to economic activity. According to the Tax Foundation's analysis of a value-added tax, the VAT would be a more economically efficient revenue source than most other taxes currently in the tax code.

Not only would replacing part or all of the payroll tax provide an immediate benefit to millennial taxpayers, it would also open the door for the much-needed entitlement reforms that have been so politically elusive. Furthermore, it would make the tax code both more pro-growth and less regressive. In order to even begin to address the entitlement crisis, win millennial support and stimulate the economy in a fiscally responsible manner, Republicans must propose moving from the payroll tax to the VAT.

Alex Muresianu is a Young Voices Advocate. His writing has appeared in Townhall and The Federalist. He is a federal policy intern at the Tax Foundation. Opinions expressed here are his only and not the views of the Tax Foundation. He can be found on Twitter @ahardtospell.

On the Basis of Sex. I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that you probably didn't expect those five words to come out of me this morning. No, that's not my version of a clickbait headline to get you to pay attention — although that probably just happened — but this is the title to the new movie based on the life of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

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Progressives and liberals have been hovering over YouTube like a pack of rabid wolves, anxiously awaiting the first trailer to drop. And — three days — they got their wish. Something in the last few seconds caught my ear. Watch:

Now my first thought after hearing that went something like this: The word "freedom" is literally the fifth frigging word in the first sentence of the First Amendment. It shows up for the second time just two sentences later. How do you screw that up? I always assumed that liberal Hollywood movie makers had never really read the Constitution, but this is just sad.

But my second thought was that maybe they don't consider the Bill of Rights actually part of the Constitution. However, according to the National Constitution Center, the Bill of Rights officially became part of the Constitution — not a separate document — when it was ratified in 1791. This is rather easy to fact check, so there's really no excuse here.

But then I had another thought. Either liberal Hollywood forgot that the Constitution changed in 1791, or they actually prefer the vaguer pre-1791 version of the Constitution where God-given rights can be excluded if the state so pleases. Think about it. The Bill of Rights is the single greatest roadblock to the radical Left's "progress." Do you hate the fact that private gun ownership encourages self reliance and personal freedom? Do you also hate the fact that dissenting views, opinions and speech can't be silenced and crushed? Then the Bill of Rights is a clear and present danger to your agenda. It's enemy number one.

The new Left that is radically moving toward the extreme absolutely abhors the year 1791.

You see, the new Left that is radically moving further toward the extreme absolutely abhors the year 1791. They wish it never happened. The Bill of Rights is a constant reminder that some FREEDOMS can't be given by the government, they're granted by GOD. And that thought — you being aware of that — scares the hell out of them.

Now, it's possible I thought too much into this. It's also possible the screen writer made a simple mistake and thought Ruth Bader Ginsburg was actually born before 1791, figuring it would be a nice tip of the hat to her longevity. I can actually see how you could make that mistake. But it's also possible that this is a sign of the times we live in.

The Bill of Rights is under attack, maybe more now than ever. It's never been more important to let the Constitution of 1791 be our guide, true north and lighthouse.

UPDATE: Here's how the discussion went on radio. Watch the video below.

How did this slip by?

The Left has been foaming at the mouth waiting for this movie to drop and when the trailer finally hit the interwebs, it ended with an embarrassing factual error about the Constitution.

What will happen when the Titan kneels?

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

You can tell that the NFL season is approaching because you can hear the whining from highly-paid athletes as they prepare their kneepads for some kneeling.

In May, the NFL instated a policy that penalizes players who take a knee during the national anthem.

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"A club will be fined by the League if its personnel are on the field and do not stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem," the statement said. "The Commissioner will impose appropriate discipline on league personnel who do not stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem."

Tennessee Titan's defensive end Jurrell Casey has decided that he will continue his whining and kneeling.

"I'm going to take my fine," Casey said in an interview. "It is what it is, I ain't going to let them stop me from doing what I want to do. If they want to have these battles between players and organizations, this is the way it's going to be."

Maybe Casey can find work elsewhere. I hear that Universities love to hire self-righteous ranting lunatics.

He added that "At the end of the day, we got to do a job, but I will continue to use my platform to keep on speaking up."

Yes, he does have a job to do. And that job is playing football. His bosses have made it clear that political activism is not part of the job. Who knows, maybe Casey can find work elsewhere. I hear that Universities love to hire self-righteous ranting lunatics. There's also Starbucks. They need a self-righteous CEO.

All anyone can talk about right now is Russia and collusion, and for good reason. Special Counsel Robert Mueller just indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers for cyber attacks and the hacking of cyber-systems in energy, nuclear, water, and manufacturing sectors which you can read about here.

RELATED: There are three tribes when it comes to Trump and Russia: Which tribe do you belong to?

The Trump-Russia scandal, in a word, is maniacal. There are many moving parts that are very hard to solve — or simply don't want to be solved. All of these are "mysteries wrapped in an enigma," asserted Glenn on Wednesday's episode of "The Glenn Beck Radio Program."



From the curious case of Imran Awan to the hacking of DNC servers to "Russian" meddling in elections via social media, all of these deserve scrutiny.

On today's episode, Glenn examined seven scandals that make up the Russia connection:

  1. Russian operatives who used social media to divide Americans during the 2016 election.
  2. The meeting at Trump Tower between Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.
  3. The Fusion GPS Dossier funded by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
  4. Voter fraud in Illinois.
  5. Hillary Clinton's emails.
  6. Imran Awan. Awan was an IT staffer for Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives who was part of a federal investigation and was arrested on bank fraud charges.
  7. Lastly, the 2016 DNC email leaks.

For the entire explanation, tune into the podcast below:


This article provided courtesy of TheBlaze.

When it comes to Donald Trump, Glenn Beck argues that there are three tribes that categorize the way people examine him regarding his foreign and domestic policy.

Tribe one is the #Resistance. They are the ones who believe that everything President Trump does is bad. They're also the ones who call for impeachment and who label President Trump a "treasonous traitor" even before a summit with a foreign leader takes place.

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Those, according to Glenn's analysis, include groups like Think Progress, who published an article suggesting that women's rights would be rolled back if the President's SCOTUS nominee is confirmed by the Senate. This tribe also includes progressive talking heads and far Left publications and politicians like The New York Times and Hillary Clinton.

Tribe two are those who defend the President and his actions at all costs. He can do no wrong. These are the people who deny the President's mistakes. They believe the President is a master chess player and everyone else is a pawn in Trump's game.

Both who operate in tribes one and two maintain a "win at all costs" mentality. They don't care what happens as long as their side wins. Glenn calls this a "cult of personality madness."

Tribe three are those who are "free thinkers." These people question the President with boldness and aim for intellectual honesty when evaluating the President's policies and behavior.

Glenn believes tribe one and tribe two are smaller than tribe three.

So, what do all these tribes have to do with Trump and the Russians? Find out in the clip below.

Where do you fall when it comes to Trump and Russia?

When it comes to Donald Trump, Glenn argues that there are three tribes that categorize the way people examine him regarding his foreign and domestic policy.


This article provided courtesy of TheBlaze.