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What’s so odd about this argument is that it is made by many of the same people (although not Drum) who engage in fear-mongering about benefit cuts under reform. If we are not to worry about benefit cuts under the current system, why are they so bad under a system that at least gives individuals a chance to make up the difference with personal accounts? Don’t hold your breath for reform opponents to answer that question.
Fix Medicare First! Opponents of reform are trying to divert attention away from Social Security and toward Medicare, since Medicare is in worse shape. The New York Times recently tried this approach:
Actually, President Bush’s reason is good political sense. Seniors don’t trust the GOP on Medicare thanks to the “MediScare” campaign Democrats unleashed when Republicans tried to fix Medicare in 1995. It enabled Bill Clinton to demagogue the issue to reelection in 1996, and almost cost the GOP the House of Representatives. Given that the residue of MediScare still lingers in seniors’ minds, a Republican President like Bush probably does not have enough trust among the senior population to tackle Medicare. But he can build such trust by reforming Social Security first.
Consider that one of the scare-tactics reform opponents employ is that current retirees will see their Social Security benefits cut. Should Bush succeed at reform, seniors will eventually realize the tactic is nonsense once they see that their monthly Social Security checks are not reduced. Once that happens, Bush will have enough political capital with the senior population to push Medicare reform.
Indeed, Bush’s decision to tackle Social Security first is a smart one. As usual, the New York Times has misunderestimated him.
Although reform opponents have advanced some new arguments, they are just as ineffective as the old ones. In the long run, they won’t do much to derail reform as long as the advocates off reform work to refute them.
Finally, readers may have noticed that I didn’t address one of the biggest of the new arguments: the “there is no crisis” con. That is the subject of Part II on Monday.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online