CATEGORIES
Look Who's Linking to PoliBlog:
3cx.org
Absinthe and Cookies
Accidental Verbosity
Admiral Quixote's Roundtable
All Day Permanent Red
All Things Jennifer
Ann Althouse
The American Mind
Arguing with signposts
Arms and influence
The Astute Blogger
Asymmeterical Information
Attaboy
augustus
B-Town Blog Boys
BabyTrollBlog
Backcountry Conservative
Balloon Juice
Bananas and Such Begging to Differ
The Bemusement Park
Benedict
Bewtween the Coasts
Betsy's Page
The Big Picture
BipolarBBSBlog
BIZBLOGGER
bLogicus
Blogs for Bush
The Blog of Daniel Sale
BoiFromTroy
Boots and Sabers
brykMantra
BushBlog
The Bully Pulpit
Cadillac Tight
Caffeinated Musing
California Yankee
Captain's Quarters
Chicago Report
Chicagoland of Confusion
Citizen Smash
Coldheartedtruth
Collected Thoughts
The Command Post
Common Sense and Wonder
Confessions Of A Political Junkie
The Conservative Philosopher
Conservative Revolution
Conservative and Right
Cranial Cavity
The Daily Lemon
Daly Thoughts
DANEgerus Weblog
Dart Frog on a Cactus
Dean's World Dear Free World
Brad DeLong
Democracy Project
DiVERSiONZ
The Disagreeable Conservative Curmudgeon
Down to the Piraeus
Drink this...
Earl's log
Earthly Passions
The Education Wonks
the evangelical outpost
exvigilare
Eye of the Storm
Feste
Filtrat
Firepower Forward
The Flying Space Monkey Chronicles
The Friendly Ghost
FringeBlog
Fruits and Votes
Functional, if not decorative
G-Blog.net
The Galvin Opinion
The Glittering Eye
Haight Speech
Half-Bakered
The Hedgehog Report
Heh. Indeed.
Hellblazer
Hennessy's View
High Desert Skeptic
The Hillary Project
History and Perceptions
Robert Holcomb
I love Jet Noise
Idlewild South
Incommunicado
Independent Thinker
Insults Unpunished
Interested-Participant
Internet Ronin
Ipse Dixit
It Can't Rain All The Time...
The Jay Blog
Jen Speaks
Joefish's Freshwater Blog
John Lemon
johnrpierce.info blog
Judicious Asininity
Jump In, The Water's Fine!
Just On The Other Side
KeepinItReal
A Knight's Blog
The Kudzu Files
LeatherPenguin
Let's Try Freedom
LibertarianJackass.com
Liberty Father
Life and Law
David Limbaugh
LittleBugler
Locke, or Demosthenes?
LostINto
Mad Minerva
Gary Manca
Mark the Pundit
Mediocre but Unexciting
memeorandum
Mental Hiccups
Miller's Time
Mind of Mog
Minorities For Bush
Mr. Hawaii
The Moderate Voice
The Modulator
Much Ado
Mungowitz End
My opinion counts
my thoughts, without the penny charge
My Word
mypetjawa
Naw
Neophyte Pundit
Neutiquam erro
New England Republican
NewsHawk Daily
neWs Round-Up
NixGuy.com
No Pundit Intended
Nobody asked me, but...
Obsidian Wings
Occam's Toothbrush
On the Fritz
On the Third Hand
One Fine Jay
Out of Context
Outside the Beltway
Suman Palit
Parablemania
Passionate America
Brian Patton
Peaktalk
Pelicanpost
Peppermint Patty
Phlegma
John Pierce
PiratesCove
Politicalman
The Politicker
The Politburo Diktat
Political Annotation
Political Blog For The Politically Incorrect
Possumblog
Power Politics
Powerpundit.com
Practical Penumbra
Priorities & Frivolities ProfessorBainbridge.com
Prof. Blogger's Pontifications
Pros and Cons
protein wisdom
PunditFilter
Pundit Heads
QandO
The Queen of All Evil
Quotes, Thoughts, and other Ramblings
Ramblings' Journal
Random Acts of Kindness
Random Nuclear Strikes
Ranting Rationalist
Read My Lips
Reagan Country
Red State Diaries
Jay Reding.com
A Republican's Blog
Resource.full
The Review
Rhett Write
Right Side of the Rainbow
Right Wingin-It
Right Wing News
Right Voices
Rightward Reasonings
riting on the wall
robwestcott
Rooftop Report
RoguePundit
The Sake of Argument
Sailor in the Desert
Scrappleface
Secular Sermons
Sha Ka Ree
Shaking Spears
She Who Will Be Obeyed!
The Skeptician
The Skewed
Slant/Point.
Slobokan's Site O' Schtuff
small dead animals
Sneakeasy's Joint
SoCal Law Blog
A Solo Dialogue
Solomonia
Some Great Reward
Southern Musings
Speed of Thought...
Spin Killer
Matthew J. Stinson
A Stitch in Haste
Stop the ACLU
The Strange Political Road Trip of Jane Q. Public
The Strata-Sphere
Stuff about
Suman Palit
SwimFinsSF
Target Centermass
Templar Pundit
The Temporal Globe
Tex the Pontificator
Texas Native
think about it...
Tiger
Tobacco Road Fogey
Toner Mishap
Tony Talks Tech
The Trimblog
Truth. Quante-fied.
Twenty First Century Republican
Unlocked Wordhoard
Use The Forks!!
Ut Humiliter Opinor
Varifrank
VietPundit
Vista On Current Events
VodkaPundit
Vox Baby
Jeff Vreeland's Blog
Wall of Sleep
Weapons of Mass Discussion
Who Knew?
The Window Manager
Winning Again!
WizBang!
WizBang Tech
The World Around You
The Yin Blog
You Big Mouth, You!
Zygote-Design
Non-Blogs Linking to PoliBlog:
Friday, March 11, 2005
Remember When ‘Gridlock’ Was a Negative Term?
By Steven L. @ 8:37 pm

I saw a link to an interesting article on Dale Franks’ Q&O blog.

Following it to the New Republic Online site, I found the talking points that we may expect to see on the Social Security debate.

Despite conservatives’ insistence that Social Security faces a “crisis,” in reality, the fiscal threat is distant and manageable, while the political threat is immediate and dire.

Number One, of course, is always that the problems can be put off. Granted, the serious fiscal problems do not become what I think of as “dire” until around 2040, but I fail to see the intrinsic benefit of putting off doing anything until we’re right at the precipice. There may be some conservatives that claim we are at a ‘crisis,’ but the main argument seems to be, rather, that we should act before it reaches the ‘crisis’ stage.

This rhetorical device — arguing about whether it is a crisis — seems reminiscent of the claims about whether Iraq was an ‘imminent’ threat — and is being used in exactly the same way.

I don’t care if it qualifies as a crisis or merely a problem — how does relabeling it as a ‘non-crisis’ remove the problem? This is simply renaming the issue and hoping that no one notices that the 800 lb rabid gorilla ithat you’ve now labeled a ‘non-crisis’ is still outside the front door, waiting for you to peek out. Naming the gorilla Fluffy does not help you because sooner or later, you still have to poke your head out.

So here, let’s all agree there is no crisis, yet. Now what? Because that does not actually solve the problem. And the problem here isn’t Republicans or Neocons or even Karl Rove’s mindrays ™. the problem is math.

People are living longer. The baby boom generation is going to retire. There will be fewer and fewer workers available to pay for higher and higher amounts being given out as benefits. These are facts — and renaming the facts or wishing them away will not affect them. We can quibble about whether it starts flying apart in 1038 or 2042 or 2050, but the end result is completely inevitable unless we do something.

So the question is: why not decide what to do now, rather than then?

Part Two of that same comment asserts that the problem is “manageable.” It’s a nice word, manageable. Unfortunately, you have to wait another 21 paragraphs to find out what that means: higher taxes and lower benefits. That part is sort of skipped over quickly, when we are assured that “[m]ore likely [than having to do nothing], the benefit cuts or tax hikes required to keep it in the black will be less severe than currently projected.”

So the alternative being offered (in a passive-aggressive, look for it kind of way) is the following: (1) do nothing and hope everything goes well; and (2) more likely, raise taxes and cut benefits, and hope everything goes well.

So the author (Jonathon Chait) advises democrats to block the reform/privitization effort. the reasoning behind that appears to be that once people are “given” rights by the government, they are reluctant to give them back away.

As conservatives well understand, once a group of voters has been given a property right by Washington, they will never allow it to be taken away. The individual rights will be a ratchet, one that can be expanded but never contracted.

I wish. First of all, the entire premise is a bit dodgy, as voters willingly trade away property freedoms or rights for ’security’ to the government on a regular basis. From my (admittedly conservative, with a dash of libertarian) viewpoint, the ratchet works the other way: give government control over anything, and it expands and grows out of control, sending out tendrils like a giant, mutated squid in a late-night horror flick.

But lets place that aside for the moment. There is an even more fundamental problem: rights are not granted to the people from on high by the government.

Mr. Clait, however, fears that people who are given a chance to save their own money and spend it as they see fit — especially if they manage to obtain higher returns — might (gasp) be reluctant to hand that control back over to government. That could lead (swoon) to having the entire retirement system run by the people themselves, and not the federal government.

Note: the original argument against this “risky scheme” (to borrow a phrase from Al Gore) was that it would not work and would place people’s retirement at risk. People must be protected from themselves. Now, it appears the problem might be a fear that people would do too well to return to the fold.

[This reminds me somewhat of the early school voucher arguments, when I would regularly see letters to the editor explaing that private schools would not be able to educate our children as well as the public schools, and that public schools would have to shut down, as they could not compete. These arguments would be in the same letter.]

Mr. Clait continues (I have excised a few sentences):

In light of all this, it should be clear how critical it is to block private accounts.

Indeed. If, that is, you want to retain control of the people’s money and feel that allowing people control over their own finances is a bad idea.

Filed under: General | |Send TrackBack |

2 Comments »

  1. Unfortunately, all the people who are lining up against Social Security reform *don’t* have to poke their heads out. Fluffy will be after the kids.

    Comment by Eric Lindholm — Friday, March 11, 2005 @ 9:19 pm

  2. The “crisis” v. “imminent threat” comparison is quite a good one. For some insane reason many Democrats in the last several years have wanted to argue more about verbiage than about the actual problems in question.

    It is as if proving that the President exaggerated would mean that there never was a problem in the first place.

    Such faulty logic seems to underscore the basic approach of the Democratic leadership of late.

    Comment by Steven Taylor — Saturday, March 12, 2005 @ 7:20 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

The trackback url for this post is: http://poliblogger.com/wp-trackback.html?p=6449

NOTE: I will delete any TrackBacks that do not actually link and refer to this post.

Leave a comment

Blogroll


Visitors Since 2/15/03
---

PoliBlog is the Host site for:

A TTLB Community

Powered by WordPress