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Willisms

« Social Security: Luddite Reactionary Liberals Receive $50 Certificates For Stuffing Money Into Mattresses. | WILLisms.com | Do Personal Accounts Achieve Solvency For Social Security? »

A Message To Squeamish Republicans On Social Security: Reform Is Good Politics.

To Republicans on the fence on Social Security:

You really need to snap out of it. Social Security reform is not only good policy, it is great politics.

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John Zogby (whom Powerline describes as "normally left-leaning") has an interesting piece on this subject in the Wall Street Journal's OpinionJournal.com today (via PoliPundit):

Why would the president risk his political capital on a plan that appears doomed to failure? I think the answer lies well beyond the politics of any single reform plan. And the president may end up a winner if his call for personal accounts ultimately fails. After all, he has raised a serious issue that needs attention--the very solvency of Social Security--which Democrats have never touched. Huge majorities of voters understand that the current system is in trouble. He will, at the very least, get credit for trying to reform the program previously referred to as the "third rail of American politics"--even if he achieves more modest change than he now proposes....

To the president and Republicans: You may lose the battle over Social Security personal accounts, but ultimately you may very well win the war over party realignment. To the Democrats: Just saying no is not a policy and demographics are not destiny. Ignore the "ownership society" at your own peril.

Achieving effective Social Security reform should be based on sound policy, with the political effects in the periphery. As the system stands today, Social Security is bad policy. The system is broken and will become a crisis in the coming years without reform. Reform with personal accounts has the chance to put Social Security on the path to permanent self-sustaining solvency, boost benefits for retirees, ease the burden on the nation's GDP, inject research and development funds back into the economy, and increase America's savings rate. Despite what some naysayers believe, personal accounts do put Social Security into solvency in the long-run, with only a moderate amount of short-term borrowing to cover the "transition cost" (a cost which the government already owes anyway and only grows over time without action), without any benefit cuts or tax hikes for individuals. Reform is good policy.

But it is also good politics.

While achieving a long-term Republican majority is not the point of reforming Social Security, it can be an electoral windfall for the GOP.

But it will take the right reform. And it will take ambivalent Republicans to take a stand on their principles.

John Zogby is right on one point, at least:

Americans believe there are problems with Social Security. Republicans are the only party providing answers to the problems, while Democrats either claim there is no problem or that the answer to the problem is to do absolutely nothing. Even if the public mistrusts the GOP somewhat on Social Security, a program created by Democrats roughly seven decades ago (it's their baby), the American public is a pragmatic bunch.

Americans want their elected leaders to solve problematic programs. They want solutions, not obstruction. The American people want leaders who at least offer fixes to looming crises while we still reasonably can, rather than ignoring the crises exist. They want a vision for the future, not ideological adherence to a long-gone era and legacy. Democrats may or may not be able to rely on their thus-far effective demagoguery to scare seniors in the short-term, but they certainly will not be able to explain to the WILLisms.com generation why they chose to obstruct, flummox, stymie, and otherwise contravene necessary reforms.

There will be heck to pay at the polls for Democrats. But only if the fence-sitting Republicans snap out of it.

UPDATE:

Right Wing News notes:

Steve Antler, tongue-in-cheek, observes that this confirms Marx: "One's political consciousness, the numbers say, is mostly informed by one's relationship to the means of production!" The chart matches up quite well, too, with Weber's Protestant work ethic.

Posted by Will Franklin · 15 March 2005 08:16 PM

Comments

Those of us for social security reform need to make sure to contact our Congress-person and Senators ASAP!

If we agree with WILLisms.com, we need to do more than just nod our heads in agreement. Each of us can make a difference.

Posted by: Linda Franklin at March 16, 2005 05:08 AM