Thursday, March 10, 2005

Jumping Through Hoops

Ross Mackenzie writes a very deceptive article today on that subject of subjects - Social Security.
In 1998, President Clinton, noting, This fiscal crisis in Social Security affects every generation, said famously: Save Social Security first! Three years later the revered Democratic Sen. Patrick Moynihan of New York endorsed as a partial Social Security solution small personal "add-on" accounts for which public enthusiasm would grow as the size of the accounts increased.

As President Bush picked up the Social Security cudgel, Democratic sentiment to fix it began running fast the other way. Maybe the Democrats grew faint at the very idea of Republican repair of the most hallowed Democratic program. Maybe they began blanching at even the suggestion of working with Republicans and the despised Bush. Or maybe they went to their cupboard of ideas and found it bare.
Let me explain this very slowly, Mr. McKenzie. The current debate is not over how to save Social Security. It's over whether or not to save Social Security. The President has made his intentions clear. He wants to replace Social Security with a program that is not Social Security. Others on the right would like to see the Government get out of the retirement business altogether. To pretend like the President's plan is an honest attempt to save social security is to shoot ourselves in the foot.

More to the point we do have plans on how to save Social Security - and you and everybody knows them. For one thing we should stop pretending that the Social Security Trust Fund is a fiction. For another thing, we could raise or eliminate the cap on Payroll Taxes. So to pretend that liberals don't have any thing to offer is flat out disingenuous.

Finally why should Liberals be the first to put out their plan? I mean President Bush has yet to put out his plan (although elements of the likely plan have already emerged). Why? In part because no plan that includes the elements he wants is likely to fly right now. And in part because then that would give Democrats something more concrete to challenge. Why shouldn't liberals follow the same pattern? You know what sorts of things we want.

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