Social Security

Democrat Desperation

Featured image Every day, it seems, there are signs of the Democrats’ increasing desperation. They obviously don’t like what they see in the polls and are worried about November. But what to do about it? It would be hard to ratchet up their customary hysteria much higher, so they are reaching deeper into their bag of tricks. One of which–everything old is new again!–is demagoguing Social Security. It is a tried and »

The Can Kicks Back

Featured image The Can Kicks Back is a web site, and a campaign, run by a group of millenials. The group has embarked on a national tour in support of generational equity, which is described here. This video provides a quick introduction: The group’s theme is generational equity: young people are being shafted by the Obama administration and everyone else in Washington who refuses to do anything about the federal debt. This »

Will Demographics Doom the Dems’ Demagoguery on Entitlements?

Featured image A friend who has been on this particular case for a long time writes: Yet another NOW they tell us moment: President Obama had Senate Republicans nodding in agreement during a recent ice-breaking dinner as he described a basic problem for the nation’s fiscal future: For each dollar that Americans pay for Medicare, they ultimately draw about $3 in benefits. What’s more, he added, most people do not understand that. »

Will the Left Ever Give an Inch on Entitlements?

Featured image Earlier this evening, Paul suggested that Republicans should be open to a “grand bargain” as long as it includes significant entitlement reform. In principle, I don’t disagree. But is there any realistic possibility that the Democrats will agree to entitlement reform? One might think so, since everyone acknowledges that the current regime is unsustainable, and if entitlements are not reformed they either will be repealed, or our economy and our »

Is Liberalism Doomed?

Featured image Liberals are feeling triumphant these days, but in the backs of their minds there must be a sense of foreboding. They won this year by demonizing Republicans and by bribing various demographic groups with government largesse. But the Left’s tactical victory can’t conceal the fact that its ideology is bankrupt. The left’s real enemy isn’t Republicans, it is arithmetic. Welfare states are collapsing all around the world. Ours is on »

Democrats Quietly Allow Social Security Taxes To Rise

Featured image Higher taxes on the “rich” have dominated discussion of the McConnell-Biden deal, but it has also been widely reported that the legislation will raise taxes on more than 77% of all U.S. households. In fact, the Tax Policy Center has calculated that 46% of the additional taxes raised in 2013 will come from the bottom 80% of Americans. So why haven’t we been hearing more about this? The tax that »

The fiscal cliff: is there a better battlefield?

Featured image President Obama’s goal in the fiscal cliff negotiations seems clear. He wants to force the Republicans to swallow increases in the tax rates of high-earners and thereby bring in at least one trillion dollars in revenue. Alternatively, if the Republicans won’t swallow rate increases for the “wealthy,” he wants to see everyone’s taxes go up and be able to blame Republicans for it. The Republican goal also seems clear. They »

Just when you think Joe Biden couldn’t be worse

Featured image While much attention has been paid, deservedly, to Joe Biden’s “put y’all back in chains” riff, his remarks (the same day) about Social Security received little notice. But they too show the Vice President of the United States to be a demagogue and a fool. According to the White House pool report, during a visit to a restaurant in southern Virginia, Clueless Joe told diners: Hey, by the way, let’s »

The Ryan Plan Vs. the Obama Plan

Featured image Democrats have been quick to pounce on Paul Ryan’s budget, which was enacted by the House of Representatives and incorporates significant entitlement reform. The Democrats, of course, have no budget at all–astonishingly, they refuse to adopt one. They have no plan for entitlements other than to allow them to go bankrupt and, presumably, be repealed by Congress. The Democrats apparently believe that most voters prefer no plan to salvage unsustainable »

Democrats for Entitlement Reform? Is Hell Freezing Over?

Featured image One of my long time analytical axioms is that only Republicans can fix our health care system, and only Democrats can fix runaway entitlements.  This is a variation of the point I have argued before on Power Line—last year here, and again here—that large changes in social policy can only proceed with the consent—not necessarily the agreement, but the consent—of the minority party.  That’s why virtually all milestone social legislation »

Alan Simpson, Unplugged

Featured image I haven’t always been a fan of former Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson, but do not miss his recent letter to a greedy geezers lobby group in California.  Politico has the whole story, but here’s the complete text of Simpson’s letter, which is, shall we say, “candid,” even for a westerner: To Whom It May Concern: Erskine Bowles and I thoroughly enjoyed our time on the West Coast and received an »

FDR Versus Today’s Liberals

Featured image One of my favorite themes is to trace the immense distance today’s liberals have traveled from the liberalism of Franklin Roosevelt.  Liberals used to hate it when Ronald Reagan quoted this remark FDR made in a speech to Congress in 1935: “The lessons of history, confirmed by the evidence immediately before me, show conclusively that continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national »

What Does the Payroll Tax Have To Do With the Pipeline?

Featured image Nothing, of course. But the Democrats’ demagoguing of the extension of the payroll tax holiday has naturally prompted a response from the GOP, which, in turn, has already brought a veto threat by President Obama: President Obama warned Congress on Wednesday not to tie approval of a payroll tax cut to other sensitive measures such as the Keystone Pipeline project, which his administration delayed last month. … “Any effort to »

The Wrong Apology

Featured image The usually supremely sensible Robert J. Samuelson has a curious column out this morning in the Washington Post, calling for former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush to link arms and embark on an “apology tour,” admitting their failure to tackle entitlements while in office and forming a bipartisan truth squad to create an opening for compromise in the middle: They would say things that would offend their political »

This Week’s Applied Hayek: Nation Magazine Edition

Featured image The Nation magazine thinks it has hit a two-fer in a recent issue, calling attention to the supposed hypocrisy of Charles Koch (cue villainous musical fanfare here) and Friedrich Hayek, for taking advantage of Social Security benefits.  Hayek was reluctant to accept an invitation to make an extended visit to the U.S. in the mid-1970s in part because of health reasons, and he worried about his health care coverage if »

You’re idiotic, he explained

Featured image Is Social Security something of a Ponzi scheme? It seems to me to partake of its essential elements, requiring new “investors” to pay off previous “investors.” The trappings of the program are sufficiently misleading that they would land principals operating in the private sector in serious trouble. Thanks to a variety of material misrepresentations, as John recently noted, many Americans still believe that the government maintains an “account” in their »

Is the Social Security Fraud Drawing to a Close?

Featured image Social Security, not Medicare or Medicaid, is the crown jewel of the entitlement state.  For several generations now, it has been sold to voters as a more or less sacred compact. Many Americans still believe that the federal government maintains an “account” in their name, which contains assets. Some even think that their “account” contains their own contributions, carefully set aside for their retirement by Franklin Roosevelt or his successors. »