This helpful but troubling piece suggests that Barack Obama has not done much detailed analysis on social security. If he did, he would have discovered that his plan to lift the earnings cap would return us to pre-Reagan era effective marginal rates on incomes (e.g. 60% at least), not raise enough revenue to make a difference, and affect adversely lots of not-very-wealthy people.
But the lack of economic rigor is equally applicable to many of Obama’s policy ideas. We don’t know what capital gains tax rate he has in mind. We don’t know what revenue he’s going to collect by jacking up rates, he says, on those making $250,000 or more while giving “middle class” voters more tax cuts. We don’t know how much everything in his domestic portfolio costs.
This is hardly surprising: raising taxes on the “rich” and giving tons of goodies to everyone usually doesn’t allow you to balance the books. So lots of politicians like to keep things vague. What is surprising is that Obama has gotten to this point without the media or the McCain camp grilling him on any of these details.