Obama says he'll solve the problem within his first term, then pivots to talking about taxes. McCain talks about entitlements slightly more, saying that we can fix Social Security if the parties come together like Reagan and Tip O'Neill, and that Medicare, is more complicated, so we'll have to do something bold...create a commission! Then he talks more about taxes.
This is the most important long-term domestic issue facing Americans, and neither of the two candidates running for president can think of enough to say about it to give a two-minute answer. How many people think either of these guys will do anything about it once in office.
Asked about fixing Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, McCain says we can fix all three at the same time, but then starts talking about energy independence.
When I wrote this column in March (called "Conservative Economics 101"), readers seemed to like the whole thing EXCEPT that one proposal enraged a number of them. Here's what they didn't like: "For ALL of an executive's compensation above, say, $500,000 per year -- including the current value of stock options, and including bonuses and anything set up as "contract" work rather than wages -- have the company pay its half (6.9 percent) of what the executive's Social Security taxes would be if those taxes weren't capped as they presently are at $102,000 annually. (The executive would not be made eligible for any additional retirement benefits, though.)"
I argued to correspondents that you needed some sort of populist item to help get the overall plan to pass, and that, really, a corporation should not be able to consider salaries of more than $500,000 as a normal business expense, anyway -- that of course compensation should be allowed to be higher, but that it shouldn't be utterly without cost to the corporation.