Friday, November 22, 2013

Great idea. Now how do we pay for it?

 - by New Deal democrat

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a political genius. He deliberately designed Social Security as a social insurance program into which virtually everybody paid, and virtually everybody benefited. By so doing, he ensured that the program would have the broadest possible support, and would withstand GOP attempts to destroy it.

That genius is showing even now, as 5 years into the term of a President who has repeatedly put cuts in Social Security benefits "on the table," and with the most reactionary GOP House majority in nearly a century, Social Security remains intact.

Let me be blunt about FDR's genius:  the moment SS is turned into a welfare program, it is dead.  It will not survive even one generation.

So while I agree with calls to increase the well being of seniors, who have been disastrously failed by private pensions being abrogated in bankruptcy, and by 401k plans that require them to be investment geniuses, and I also applaud moving the Overton window, so that we are discussing expanding, rather than cutting, middle class programs. .. , I have a question for Profs. Mark Thoma-Paul Krugman,  Elizabeth Warren, andDuncan Black .

How are you going to pay for it?

If you believe that SS should pay those benefits, (as opposed to some separate program paid for out of the general fund), and you don't fund them, or you are unable to explain why the lower  interest rate bound means we can just print the money (if you believe that is true), then you have just signed Social Security's death warrant.