Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Social Security - Part 2

I try very hard not to let my attitude towards the Democratic Party degenerate into mere Conspiracy Theory mongering. No matter how hard I try, though, the political left in this country always outdistances me and leaves me panting and heaving with bewildered outrage at their feckless policy prescriptions and their elitist treatment of proposals from the right. You would think that any group that has had as few new ideas in the last, oh, SEVENTY YEARS as the Democrats have had, would at least give a respectful hearing to such ideas. But you’d be wrong. No matter what the Republicans say, the Democratic response is to put their hands over their ears and yell, “La! La! La! I don’t hear you! You’re not saying anything! Nyaa! Nyaa! Nyaa!”

No serious person disputes the fact that - as is - our social security system is headed for insolvency.
No serious person disputes the fact that tax cuts engendered the economic boom of the 80’s and 90’s.
No serious person disputes that raising taxes has a strong DIS-incentive effect on workers and therefore an enervating effect upon the whole of the economy.

And yet…

Our friends the Democrats WILL NOT take any proposal seriously. In fact they now dispute that there even is a problem. Or, if there is a problem, they claim we don’t have to worry about it now.

Right here then is the point at which my conspiracy theory weakness overcomes me and I am forced to ask myself:

Do the Democrats want Social Security to reach the crisis stage - or even collapse - so that their solution (their ONLY solution…ever…to anything), namely, raising taxes, will be our only option?

And, knowing as they must, that by raising taxes precipitously they will cause huge problems for the economy; do they hope to then ride to the rescue - a la FDR - with a smorgasbord of socialist “solutions” to the problems of our failed capitalist economy?

Do they really want to cause a collapse of the economy so that they can implement a collectivist socio-economic model?

While I would like to think the adoption of such a strategy laughably unlikely, I'm not sure anymore. I can only hope that it is not the case. I fully realize the tenor of these questions and how I may sound. I would fain recant all of the above if the Democratic Party would do ONE of the following:

1. Admit Social Security is going to collapse without either a huge tax increase or a huge reduction in benefits…or both.

2. Announce that the goal of Social Security is to “Secure” the retirements of the elderly and that any plan that does that is worth investigating.

3. State unequivocally that people have the right to that which they have earned – and that the establishment of accounts that allow people to control a portion of that “savings” confiscated by the U.S. government every payday is a matter of basic fairness and a proper goal of any reform of Social Security.

4. Propose a true “lockbox” for Social Security. That is, see to it that the monies collected through mandatory withholding DO NOT go straight into the general fund, but get invested in treasury bills or some other government backed financial instrument that does not permit Congress to spend it all today while playing a shell game with the amount that is really owed down the line. (This goes for the GOP as well.)

As a fiscal conservative, I feel that the Republicans have failed me - but the Democrats are literally playing chicken with the economy of this country.

I cannot currently explain this behavior in reasonable, rational terms. Perhaps some of you can help me.


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