More on Social Security

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This morning I am watching Fox News Sunday, and first up is Dan Bartlett. He was spinning, characterizing things in what I think is unfair way.

For example. he echoed what the President said, that private accounts are not a replacement for Social Security benefits. But they are. Essentially, the proportion in which you pay into private accounts is the proportion by which your Social Security benefits are reduced. It is a replacement.

But most of my problems with him were semantic and characterization issues. And then Nancy Pelosi took the stage. And she said things that were just false, or ignorant of the facts, to the point of being patently irresponsible.

She said, for example, that Social Security won't start paying out more money than it takes in until 2030. She said that simply not taking money out of the Trust Fund will solve the solvency problem, and that nothing else needs to be done. This just ignores the data, which says that of the three sets of assumptions, only the most optimistic set will produce that outcome.

You could argue that this is the most reasonable guess, as it has performed well in the past, but it has a lot of question marks in it -- especially, to my mind, in regard to its near-stagnant increase in life expectancy -- and at the very least, it is irresponsible to assume that we will achieve this set of assumptions. We have to, if we want to keep Social Security solvent, assume that the best-case scenario will not happen.

And that's really the simplest and most obvious criticism of the Democrat line: it only works if everything turns out well. It has no backup, no solution, no fix for if things turn out differently.

Pelosi also echoed Harry Reid in her attack on Alan Greenspan, who called Greenspan a "partisan hack" for supporting Bush in much of what he's saying about Social Security.

The problem is, Greenspan was a vocal supporter of Clinton when that President was trying to reform Social Security. He didn't agree with everything Clinton wanted to do -- Clinton wanted to invest the Trust Fund in the stock market, which Greenspan hated -- but he also supported the Clinton plan in significant ways, including in using the budget surplus to pay down the debt.

Pelosi said Greenspan should stick to talking about taxes and interest rates etc.. But what is Social Security but taxes and government debt, which affect interest rates? Greenspan served as Chairman of the National Commission on Social Security Reform from 81-87, when he then became Fed Chairman. This is an issue he cares about. And his statements on the matter have been consistent throughout his terms as Chairman of the Fed. You may disagree with him, but to call him a partisan hack is really beyond the pale, especially since Reid and Pelosi must know that he's not, if I can figure it out.

In this issue where I am critical of the Republican line, it's hard to be sympathetic to the Democrats, when they are led by two people who don't give a damn about the truth or responsibility, but only care about defeating the President, at apparently any cost.

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This page contains a single entry by pudge published on March 6, 2005 9:23 AM.

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