November 7, 2008

The Great Leap Forward: How the Heck Can We Win Anyway?

Hatched by Dafydd

It's a serious question: If a candidate like John S. McCain can be beaten by an empty suit with no experience spouting policies that "seem vague but are in fact meaningless," then what the heck are we supposed to do in order to win next time?

Surprisingly enough, I'll tell you what we should do. So there.

What's past...

In this election, each side did a great job of turning out their partisans: CNN's exit polling shows that McCain got 90% of the GOP vote, while Barack H. Obama got 89% of the Democratic vote. But Obama surged among independents by 8%, 52 to 44 for McCain. As far as ideology, Obama did somewhat better among liberals (89%) than McCain did among conservatives (78%); but again, it was the moderates that really killed McCain's chances, giving Obama a 21-point advantage, 60-39.

Clearly, Republicans are not able to appeal to independents merely by running "centrists"; it didn't work with McCain, George W. Bush, Blob Dole, nor George H.W. Bush. The last time Republicans won the nonaligned vote was with Ronald Reagan (remember those "Reagan Democrats" and "neoconservatives?") -- but Reagan was certainly not a moderate.

But on the other hand, running a staunch conservative is no guarantee of success, either, as President Barry Goldwater can attest.

Perpetual guest blogger DRJ at Patterico's Pontifications has an interesting take; I think she is correct but too specific... her thesis can be broadened a bit. She argues that what doomed McCain's candidacy was that he never presented (or even developed) a comprehensive economic policy with, one presumes, an overarching philosophy. Obama did -- however vague it was -- and that made all the difference on the issue of the economy... which turned out to be the only issue that mattered in this election.

But let's broaden this out a bit. It doesn't matter even if a candidate has a comprehensive economic policy, if he's unable to communicate it effectively to voters. And everything said about McCain's inability to communicate a comprehensive economic policy (whether or not he had one) can also be said about his inability to communicate a comprehensive policy on energy (drill everywhere -- except ANWR"), on climate change (his "drill, baby, drill" motto conflicts with his insistance that globaloney is real and the most urgent problem we face), on the war against the Iran/al-Qaeda axis (fight the war with everything we have -- but don't harshly interrogate captured terrorists, don't hold military tribunals, close Guantanamo Bay, and release the prisoners), on immigration (he argued for a process to allow eventual legalization of illegal aliens but never explained how that helps the American economy or national security).

I believe that all of those cases could have been made. Some would have required McCain to change some of his policies:

  • Coming up to date about the new evidence casting much doubt upon anthropogenic global climate change;
  • Admitting that oil can be drilled from ANWR without damaging the environment;
  • Dropping or at least mitigating his objections to harsh interrogation techniques and agreeing that terrorist combatants should not receive civilian trials alongside carjackers and check kiters.

But other cases could have been made by more effectively explaining the very positions he already held: for example, the benefit to our economy and even our national security by immigration reform and a process of legalization of those here illegally. But the fact is that John McCain never really made any of those arguments; in some instances, such as energy and immigration, he didn't even try.

...Is prologue

He never even really articulated a long-term plan for resolving the financial meltdown, nor for dealing with the real root causes -- the "money for nothing" syndrome so evident not only in subprime lending but also in the Social Security and Medicare boondoggles. McCain really needed to tie everything together under a few simple precepts:

  • Money has to come from somewhere. Ultimately, every dollar spent comes from your pockets. That doesn't mean we shouldn't spend anything; but it does mean we must be honest about how we're going to pay for things we like... including retirement programs; medical programs for senior citizens, veterans, and the poor; and rescuing American citizens from the folly of Wall Street bankers.

    We must cut expenses, or America is going to go bankrupt. And that means finding a better way to fund Social Security (privatize), reforming and revamping Medicare and other medical entitlement programs (ownership, portability, innovation, defined contribution, MSAs), and being more careful about how we inject liquidity into the mortgage market (lending rather than letting government buy -- partially nationalize -- the banking industry).

  • Energy is not "free" either; all of the electricity, gasoline, and natural gas that we use to power our society comes at the expense, to some extent, of the environment. The only way to prevent 100% of all environmental damage would be to smash all the technology and go back to the way people lived in the Dark Ages.

    We cannot power our country on biomass, solar cells, and wind; but they can help somewhat in the margins, and we should pursue them, so long as it's not too expensive. That said, we must strike a balance between the environment, which we all need and which we all want to be able to enjoy, and the raw energy we need to live, work, and prosper. My administration will pursue every, last method of producing energy, but we'll do so in as environmentally friendly a way as practicable. Sometimes that will mean less energy and more wilderness; but other times that must mean less wilderness for more energy.

  • Immigration also requires a delicate balance: On the one hand, we must control our borders; that's the primary duty of any country. But on the other hand, we cannot allow a population in the millions that lives inside our borders -- but as outsiders to society. On the third hand, we haven't the means to round them up and deport them... and it would kill our economy, which has come to rely upon lower-wage workers in many areas.

    The solution is an overarching policy that America is for those of any nationality who have American values: We should only admit immigrants who plan to become citizens... and only immigrants who are willing to assimilate and Americanize. No "guest workers," no hordes of immigrants who want to turn the United States into a carbon copy of whatever country they left behind. But no immigrant who truly wants to become an American should be rejected arbitrarily or without being told why, and what he can do to qualify next time.

President Who?

I believe that the next Republican nominee for president must himself have a comprehensive and consistent set of policies, driven by an optimistic and truly American overall philosophy:

  • One that can easily be explained to people (the philosophy, not necessarily each individual policy);
  • Whose pieces should all fit together;
  • And the whole of which, while small-c conservative and big-C Capitalist, should be neither rigid nor inflexible, nor seem censorious, dour, defeatist, or gloomy.

Nor should it be some airy-fairy fantasy about getting everything for nothing when "the world all comes together as one." We need realism, optimism, consistency, and an overall guiding philosophy... coupled with the ability to fully and effectively articulate this vision to the entire country.

That is what Ronald Reagan offered, but not a single Republican nominee since then has even attempted. Instead, except for 1988, Republicans have tried to negotiate the presidency. (In 1988, George Herbert Walker Bush simply coasted into la Casa Blanca by sheer momentum of the Reaganism that he personally despised).

We keep trying to put together a coalition of special interests (military hawks, deficit hawks, entrepeneurs, free-traders, libertarians, and social conservatives), then pick one from Column A, two from Column B, and so forth. This has usually worked, but it's not reliable -- as we just saw, where a decent, intelligent man of substance by beaten by a shiny, rainbow-colored soap bubble.

I think what I'm saying is that we need to nominate a great communicator and leader, not a great compromiser; not a nominee designed to appeal to just enough members of each interest group to hold the coalition together. There's a saying that a camel is a horse designed by committee; since our last strong horse in 1980, we've nominated nothing but camels, camels, camels, all the way down.

I also agree that we should look beyond the "usual gang of idiots" to candidates outside the D.C. beltway. Sarah Palin was a great choice precisely because she was the governor of an important state that was about as far away from the District of Columbia as possible (Hawaii is too liberal). Her problem was twofold: She was too recently elected, and the McCain camp did not let Sarah Barracuda be herself; they tried to micromanage her into a John McCain "mini-me." The electorate had never heard of her before the nomination, and many moderates and independents were furious that an "inexperienced" and "out of her depth" "lightweight" was put into such an important role.

The McCain campaign really blew the roll-out; but that shouldn't hurt Palin herself in 2012, provided she follows my advice below.

Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana is also a strong contender... another "beltway outsider" with real experience governing. But we could look even further afield. How about Gen. David Petraeus? If it turns out that he has a comprehensive and consistent overarching philosophy of government that fits within the GOP orbit (which I strongly suspect to be true), he might be a fantastic candidate. We already know he's a wonderful communicator.

President -- how?

But whoever is the nominee should make it clear very soon now -- no more than a year from today -- that he (or she) is going to run for president. Then he should barnstorm the country, talking to anyone and everyone: from the Elks and Masons, to the local councils of La Raza, to NRA chapters, to businesses large and small, to campus groups -- lots and lots of campus groups! -- to various forums to which women voters pay attention, to organizations of black businessmen, to churches, synogogues, and mosques, and so forth. It doesn't matter if the group agrees or disagrees with the future candidate's policies; what matters is that he makes it clear that they matter to him.

And I have one final suggestion: When the campaign starts in earnest, I want this candidate to refuse to participate in mass "debates." Instead, he should challenge every other major candidate to a one-on-one debate... and offer to pay for it.

Any opponent who refuses should be mercilessly mocked for being afraid to face the candidate. These mass "debate" events are monkey debates; they're not really debates at all but just collective press conferences. The one-on-ones that our candidate offers would be real debates, a town-hall format where, besides questions from the audience, each candidate also puts questions to his opponent.

I think voters would find this format far more interesting, stimulating, even exciting, than the warmed over mashed potatoes we get nowadays. And it would also play to the strengths of the outsider candidate, rather than consummate insiders like John McCain, Barack Obama, and Joe Biden.

In other words, a presidential election is a nonviolent war, where the stake is leadership of the free world; for God's sake, can't we plan the next one with the same intensity that we would plan a military campaign?

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, November 7, 2008, at the time of 8:33 PM

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Tracked on November 18, 2008 6:12 PM


The following hissed in response by: Mr. Michael

I don't think it's necessary for them to declare that they are running for President right away... but otherwise I agree with you. George Bush's greatest failing (imho) wasn't in what he did, but in how he failed to either lead the Country while doing it, or defending and explaining it afterwards. There is little Victory in Battle if your own side will continue to do what brought on the Battle in the first place.

My fantasy debate format: Big fluffy chairs. Not leather, but LayZBoys. Make the Candidates sit down, and take away the podium. No aggressive posture, and no shield. ;) Then make them speak in two minute chunks of time for the first half hour, and then five minute chunks in the second. The Moderator gets to ask one, and ONLY one question to start it off... let the Candidates prove their worth in a real conversation. If the Candidates feel a lull, THEY can solicit questions from the crowd.

Let's see who has the guts... and who can actually converse with more than just sound bites.

The above hissed in response by: Mr. Michael [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 7, 2008 9:58 PM

The following hissed in response by: Ken Hahn

Let's face it, McCain had to spend the entire campaign getting the base out. Sure we voted for him by 90% but we didn't have any enthusiasm. It's hard to get excited about supporting a guy who has spent the last decade insulting you or working against your interests with the likes of Ted Kennedy or Russ Feingold. Only Palin saved McCain from a Mondale style meltdown. No plan could survive a general who seemed to tell his best troops that they weren't of much use and badly trained to boot.
I live in Orange County California. McCain beat Obama here 469,124 to 433,188. In 2004 Bush beat Kerry 641,832 to 419,239. This is the Republican heartland on the west coast. Obama got 13, 949 more votes than Kerry, a result that is easily explained by population growth. McCain lost 172,708 from Bush's 2004 total. The base voted for McCain but they didn't turn out.

McCain was a terrible candidate. No strategy could have saved his candidacy. McCain was never going to carry California but his campaign of contempt for the base lost us a lot of down ballot races. There are literally hundreds of Democratic state legislators who owe their jobs to John McCain. Next time let's nominate someone who does feel the need to apologize for being a Republican.

The above hissed in response by: Ken Hahn [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 7, 2008 10:24 PM

The following hissed in response by: Baggi

You're way overthinking this.

The Democrats on CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, The New York Times, Time Magazine, US News and World Report, NPR, etc, are mostly extremely partisan. It's not that it's about issues, it's about partisanship and the "horse race" which is really more like "our team vs their team".

I'm not sure what it is about the philosophy of these Democrats where they put team above principle, but it's clearly there.

So, they automatically hate the Republican and love the Democrat. This leads to stuff like 8 years of negative Bush coverage and negative coverage of Republicans.

This is why when i'm in casual conversation with just about anyone and politics come, someone always says something like, "Well, Bush wrecked this country." or "The Republicans wrecked the country."

But when I ask for specifics, their really aren't any to justify such a throw away statement.

The fact is, we've had it pounded into us through just about every media outlet for the past 8 years every possible negative angle one could take on the Bush Administration and the Republicans who support him.

"A lie gets half way around the World before the truth puts its boots on."

It doesn't matter how accurate this negative news is about President Bush and/or Republicans. Nor does it matter whether the "bad" news is their fault or not. It's so overwhelming and constant that some of it has just got to be true.

So it sinks into our psyche. Even Republicans aren't immune!

And so you get a weary nation who thinks that if they just change the clothes they are wearing life will change with it.

It's pretty dang tough to take 8 years of constant media bashing.

This is why John McCain lost the election. Just as Barack Obama said, "Change!"

Secretly (And by that I mean subconsciously), the change people wanted (And i'm sure Obama understands this) is from a constant barrage of negativity in the media, to something a little nicer for a change.

There's that word again.

The above hissed in response by: Baggi [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 7, 2008 10:38 PM

The following hissed in response by: BlueNight

There are three parts to any economic activity: Production, Distribution, and Marketing. Marketing is how you make the customer aware of your product, or make them want it. Marketing is the part Republicans SUCK at, and Democrats excel at.

Marketing conservatism is easy: make it obvious that it is built on solid ideals and theories. Ayn Rand did an incredible job at it, though her enemies out-marketed her in response, and few people helped her.

The above hissed in response by: BlueNight [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 8, 2008 12:07 AM

The following hissed in response by: Steelhand

Your analysis is spot on, but the flaws in McCain's campaign came down to one thing: he didn't trust the American People. Being inside the beltway too long, he sees them (us) as something other. A group to be marketed to, not citizens who are deciding their future. Whether he came in believing that, or his advisers convinced him of that, no matter.

He needed to make 2 cases: why he was better for the country, and why PE Obama was not. The Obama campaign was making the case of why PR Obama is better for you and McCain is not.

That is, in recent years, how elections break down. The Reps are the party of the country, teh Dems are the party of self-interest. When we are satisfied, we will put the country first, when we are scared we tend to circle the wagons.

The American people know the Dems are weak on defense. They understand that when business does better they do better. But when the Reps blurred the line between themselves and Dems, and there is no difference between the parties, well then what's in it for me?

The R's have to get back to a coherent message, get back to fiscal responsibility, and find candidates that can communicate. Above all, they have to trust that the American people are, in general, interested in their country's well-being more than their own self-interest.

The above hissed in response by: Steelhand [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 8, 2008 4:17 AM

The following hissed in response by: MTF

Voters care only in passing about policies right now, given the fear and confusion about the economy. McCain lost for two reasons: 1) he should have run hard against the low rated, do nothing Congress and Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank, Chris Dodd and Harry Reid, and, 2) he shouldnot have suspended his campaign, and he should have voted against the bail-out. The voters were looking for scalps, and the Congress is rich in candidates with the right sort of hair, and the last thing we needed was to fund bonuses at Goldman. McCain was stupid to be so collegial towards his buddies in Congress, just plain stupid. And Steve Schmidt should never again be trusted with important decisions in a political campaign- sending McCain back to Washington and abandoning his supporters out on the trail was the all-time worst decision in a Presidential election. We had a bad candidate, with dumb advisers. You really don't need to go much further than that in your analysis.

The above hissed in response by: MTF [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 8, 2008 6:01 AM

The following hissed in response by: Dick E


And that means finding a better way to fund Social Security (privatize)…
I like the idea of a privatized Social Security system, but I just don’t see how to get there from here.

Privatization would have to be phased in, maintaining defined benefit features for a number of years while private accounts are built up to the point where they can supplement and, ultimately, replace the current system.

That means that for the phase-in period we have to take in enough cash each year to pay for the defined benefits PLUS cash to fund the new private accounts.

A significant tax increase would be inevitable. You can’t lower the current Social Security tax -- all that money is needed to pay current benefits. The only way to fund private accounts is to increase the payroll deduction.

Our current, pay-as-we-go system is not fully understood by lots of people. They think their money is somehow funding their own retirement rather than someone else’s. Even those who understand the system pay their Social Security tax in anticipation that one day they will have their retirement benefit paid by someone else.

As we transition to a privatized system, not only will people receive lower take-home pay, they will clearly see what portion of their payroll deduction is being redistributed to others, with absolutely no benefit to themselves. And the younger they are, the less they will ultimately see redistributed in their favor.

How do we get around this?

The above hissed in response by: Dick E [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 8, 2008 6:19 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dick E


But no immigrant who truly wants to become an American should be rejected arbitrarily or without being told why, and what he can do to qualify next time.

We went down this road once before. As I wrote two years ago (I can’t find it on your site -- my computer says I wrote it then; maybe I just didn’t post it):

[S]uppose you’re a dedicated, hard-working USCIS employee who comes across something in an applicant’s background that you find questionable. Maybe it’s a past or present affiliation with a political or religious organization that expresses anti-American views. If the affiliation is indisputable and the organization sufficiently repugnant (e.g. Al-Qaeda), maybe you’d send the applicant a form letter saying exactly why they are being rejected. But … wait a minute, do we want Al-Qaeda to know what we know about this person?

Or what if the affiliation isn’t quite so clear or the organization isn’t as well known. It’s going to take longer than usual to investigate the case. So, do you send the applicant a letter stating that we’re still reviewing your application, but we are looking into your affiliation with Tommy’s Commies of London? But if they really are a band of bad guys, we wouldn‘t want to alert them about our investigation Or maybe the fact that we even know about the organization is classified. Now you’re in a pickle. You can’t send a letter giving the real reason for the delay.

So you can’t tell the bad guys why their applications for immigration are delayed or rejected. But if you tell everyone else why they’re rejected, then the bad guys will know that we’re on to them when they DON’T get letters.

But let’s say we decide to send delay/rejection notices anyway. Can you imagine the litigation that would result? How can you prove someone’s affiliation with a clandestine organization beyond a reasonable doubt (or even by preponderance of evidence)? And even if you can do that, how do you prove that the organization itself is so bad we don’t want its members here?

I’m sure there are lots of other reasons to delay or reject an immigration application. I suspect most of them could (therefore often would) be litigated.

The above hissed in response by: Dick E [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 8, 2008 6:24 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

Dick E:


So what percent of wannabe immigrants do you imagine are rejected due to unsavory contacts in the distant past? How much "investigation" do you think USCIS really conducts?

I strongly suspect they would be more interested in criminal and employment history, education, and a general interview; ask the immigrant some questions about how much he knows about the United States and why he wants to immigrate here. And yes, the agents need to use some good judgment and common sense.

But I really couldn't care less if some applicant was a Commie when he was in high school... or even if he marched in some Palestinian rights protest, so long as he is not on anybody's watch list.

But if the applicant has no good answer why he wants to come here, he hasn't really shown interest in assimilation by, e.g., learning something about our system of government or our history, if he has no history of steady employment, if he's not married, if he hasn't gotten much of an education (coming from a country where this is allowed) -- then those are all valid reasons for saying "nyet."

No ordinary screening system that we can devise will screen out al-Qaeda operatives; for that, you must use a completely different filtering mechanism. I would suggest we ape the Israeli system; they seem to do pretty well under circumstances far more harrowing than ours.

Social Security

Why don't we simply study any of the eight or nine countries that have already privatized, and import the elements that worked while rejecting those that didn't?

I've seen numerous plans laid out for shifting from fully government run to fully privatized; I could not begin to pick which would work best. That's why we have financial experts.


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 8, 2008 7:34 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dick E



I think all your points are valid. I wasn’t trying to enumerate the kinds of investigation USCIS is, should or should not be doing. My point was that we can’t be advising applicants of the reason(s) for the delay or rejection of their applications.

Social Security

Did any of the countries already privatized start from a position of having a social security system that was fully funded, on a pay-as-you-go basis, from a separate, designated payroll tax?

You usually have your own rationale for such matters, Dafydd. But this time you defer to the judgment of “financial experts”? Hey, I’m one of those (CPA), and I don’t see how it can be funded without a significant payroll tax increase. (I suppose the money could come from general revenues or from borrowing, but that just obscures the issue and makes for an even bigger break with the historical practice of having Social Security paid for from a separate tax.)

If any of those “numerous plans” accomplishes privatization without a significant tax increase, I’d like to look at it. Any references?

(As I said above, I would be in favor of privatized Social Security. I was serious when I ended my previous post with “How do we get around this?”)

The above hissed in response by: Dick E [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 8, 2008 11:29 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dick E

And in the privatized countries, were the pre-existing benefit plans comparable to ours (relative to local salary levels)?

The above hissed in response by: Dick E [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 9, 2008 12:22 AM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

Dick E:

I know what I know, and I know what I don't know; I'm not an expert in the area of privatizing government retirement programs. But I have read articles by people who are, and who say it can be done without bankrupting the country or jacking up taxes too far.

Since I haven't the chops to verify the veracity or accuracy of their claims, I must take them at face value. But you might try Cato or the Heritage Foundation.

As far as immigration, I think your example of people who are rejected because of security problems is so rare that it's just not important right now. Those who are rejected for obvious reasons -- not enough educational attainment, insufficient work history, etc -- can be told why.

If someone is rejected for security reasons, he can be told some bureaucratic lie that sounds plausible, and the FBI and Homeland Security notified. The fear that he will therefore be tipped off that USCIS has some idea he's not just Jose the gardener is so remote that it shouldn't stand in the way of reforming the immigration system.


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 9, 2008 12:49 AM

The following hissed in response by: patrick

If Palin runs for President in 2012, at least she has name recognition going for her... but, at this point, that may or may not work in her favor

The above hissed in response by: patrick [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 9, 2008 8:39 AM

The following hissed in response by: Dick E


Thanks for the SS privatization info. I’ll check it out.

You may be right that security risks are a very small minority of applicants and that they could be given generic, bureaucratic lies as explanations for their rejections. (As could everyone else, for that matter. Bureaucracies being what they are, if they come up with a good lie that seems to work, the temptation would be great to expand its use.)

But for the rest of the rejected applicants, you apparently want to give them real reasons. The one I like least is “the applicant has no good answer why he wants to come here.” It may be the most important consideration in approving an application, but if you tell that to an applicant, they’ll just figure out how to lie about it next time around. Why should we give people a second bite at that particular apple?

Unfortunately, all the reasons for rejection you list (with the possible exception of criminal background) involve a certain -- often substantial -- degree of subjectivity. Tell people why they’re rejected, and they’ll likely argue about it. And if they watch American TV at all, they’ll sue.

Look at each of the rejection rationales you cite and think about how to prove either side’s case (the applicant’s or the government’s) in court.

And yes, the agents need to use some good judgment and common sense.

The above hissed in response by: Dick E [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 9, 2008 7:24 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dick E


I think I can say with all due (im)modesty that my analysis of the consequences of Social Security privatization was spot on. (Well, mostly, and you need to combine my first two posts on the subject.)

The answer to my original question, “How do we get around this [big tax increase]?” is: We can’t.

However, after reading up a bit on the subject, I think we need to privatize anyway. Take THAT!

It turns out that every country that has privatized so far has done one or more of the following:

    Pay transition costs (i.e. benefits under the pre-existing defined benefit plan) with taxes collected mainly from people who will not receive benefits under the old plan. The funds can be from payroll taxes and/or general revenues.

    Reduce benefits under the pre-existing plan, either by adjusting payment formulae, increasing retirement age or excluding some workers (voluntarily or involuntarily) from the plan. That can mitigate, but doesn’t eliminate, the need for tax revenue.

    Borrow the money (which, of course, amounts to deferred taxes).

Even if we use “excess” payroll taxes to fund some or all of the new, privatized accounts, that amount would have to be made up from general revenues. After all, the excess now goes into the Social Security “trust fund” which means, of course, the money has been spent. If we take in less excess payroll taxes, that leaves less left over to pay the government expenses that had been paid from the trust fund. Unless Congress reduces spending (we can dream, can’t we?), the money will have to come from somewhere.

Bottom line: Privatization requires higher taxes to pay for the transition from the current system.

Irrespective of the above, I think we should bite the bullet and start phasing out our defined benefit Social Security plan. The demographics just don’t work. Transition costs are not going to go away, and will probably increase significantly over time, although they could be mitigated to some extent by reducing benefits. So the sooner the better.

Unfortunately, this is unlikely to happen under the Democrats. We need to hope that when the Republicans are back in charge (soon?) that they’ll have the cojones to get this passed and do a whale of a selling job convincing people it’s in their interest to pay someone else’s Social Security benefits (unless the whole transition is paid from general revenue, in which case, of course, it‘s “free” -- just soak the rich).

BTW, the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation were, of course, supportive of privatization, but very lacking on details about transition. The best resource I found was in a 2001 paper by Estelle James, who was, at the time, a consultant to the World Bank. Thanks for the tips anyway -- they gave me a start.

The above hissed in response by: Dick E [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 10, 2008 9:31 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

Dick E:

I didn't say we wouldn't have to raise taxes; I said privatization was doable. And we agree it is.

That said, I have not given up hope that either we can reduce spending (by reforming Medicare and Medicaid, for example) or grow the economy enough that we can pay for privatizing Social Security without so much pain. Just because we haven't done something doesn't mean we never will!


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 11, 2008 12:25 AM

The following hissed in response by: Dick E



The above hissed in response by: Dick E [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 11, 2008 2:06 PM

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