January 09, 2005

Michael Savage: No Foreign Aid!

I've posted and linked to plenty of left-on-left action on this blog.
Now it's time for a little right-on-right action. (Hat tip: Glenn.)

I'd say a post blasting the despicable Michael Savage is hardly worth
the bother, but the man has millions of fans - well, at least he has
millions of listeners. When I'm in the mood for some right-wing
whackjobbery (it happens sometimes when I get bored) I'm occasionally
one of them.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at January 9, 2005 02:55 PM
Comments

Savage: Many of the countries and the areas in these countries that were hit . . .were hotbeds of radical Islam. Why should we be helping them destroy us?

This much of what Savage said is true. But I dissavow the rest.

We help them because of who WE are, not because of who they are.

Posted by: David at January 9, 2005 03:20 PM

Michael Savage is an idiot. If 5 millions ordinary Muslims see that the US military is the first to show up with fresh water and food, the radical Islamists are going to have a much harder time getting any support in those countries.
Apparently Michael Savage thinks that as soon as radical Islam shows up in a country, we should just give it to them...so much for taking the fight to the enemy!

Posted by: John T at January 9, 2005 04:10 PM

Hey, you linked to my friend John Bush (le sabot post-moderne) in the Ukraine! I recommend keeping an eye on him - his political philosophy is likely to turn out both a lot more complext than just "conservative," and I think he will be an increasingly influential blogger.

Posted by: Gideon Strauss at January 9, 2005 04:29 PM

despicable Michael Savage

Short, succint, accurate.

Posted by: spc67 at January 9, 2005 04:30 PM

Michael Savage is an idiot.

Word.

Posted by: Charlie (Colorado) at January 9, 2005 04:38 PM

Michael, good posting on Savage. That he is allowed near a microphone says how good we have it with our first amendment. Without the 1st, no one would let this yo-yo near a mic.

Posted by: GMRoper at January 9, 2005 10:39 PM

Many of the countries and the areas in these countries that were hit . . .were hotbeds of radical Islam.

It's a stretch, frankly. Sri Lanka certainly isn't. India isn't. The only country that could possibly be described as such is Indonesia, using a crude logic, since it is largely Muslim. But even then its very safe to say the vast majority that were killed were not terrorists of any kind, just ordinary folk.

Send Savage to Aceh - on a one way ticket.

Posted by: Benjamin at January 10, 2005 01:52 AM

I am a Conservative and proud of it. But I have nothing whatsoever to do with Michael Savage.

I am not alone in this stance. The distinction needs to be made.

Posted by: James C. Hess at January 10, 2005 05:13 AM

I wonder if Michael Savage truly has any fans? I think his listening base is primarily made of conservatives for whom his direct-to-spleen radio invective is a guilty pleasure, but otherwise would have nothing to do with him, and less than conservatives for who'm his daily tirades are a form of shock entertainment.

Posted by: Epitome at January 10, 2005 06:17 AM

I'm a staunch Republican, and I can't stand Michael Savage. He's an embarrassment!

Posted by: Kay in CA at January 10, 2005 06:49 AM

Michael Savage is the cranky guy at the end of the bar talking over the television. At times he's entertaining but he's mostly nuts.

Posted by: Deuce at January 10, 2005 07:41 AM

I occasionally hear Savage, although I never think to tune him in. I find him to be obnoxious and frustrating to listen to. But on occasion, he has a gem. If he toned down his approach he would probably lose those who listen to him regularly, but would say something of value to hear.

Posted by: Mike at January 10, 2005 09:40 AM

David: We help them because of who WE are, not because of who they are.

I can't believe I'm about to say this.

Right on, David.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at January 10, 2005 09:41 AM

"When I'm in the mood for some right-wing
whackjobbery (it happens sometimes when I get bored)"

He is popular in San Francisco / the bay area. Had me wondering what percentage of his listeners are left wingers who want to listen to this jerk to reinforce their stereotypes of 'the right'....

Because, as a conservative, I think he is a scum and a joke. None of my conservative friends like, or listen, him or his show.

So, as a 'right winger, if any fellow conservatives like this guy, shame on you.

Posted by: Thomas at January 10, 2005 09:54 AM

Makes you wonder if he's not actually a far-left'er, on a mission of disinformation and stereotype building...

By that logic, maybe Michael Moore's really ultra-conservative?

Nah.

Posted by: Barry at January 10, 2005 10:19 AM

I think there is at least a 50 – 50 chance that he is a left wing fanatic posing as a “conservative” for the purpose of discrediting conservatism. He is the left wing caricature of what a conservative is, a vile, uncaring excuse of a human being.

Posted by: thedragonflies at January 10, 2005 10:26 AM

Had me wondering what percentage of his listeners are left wingers who want to listen to this jerk to reinforce their stereotypes of 'the right'....

Makes you wonder if he's not actually a far-left'er, on a mission of disinformation and stereotype building...

I think there is at least a 50 – 50 chance that he is a left wing fanatic posing as a “conservative” for the purpose of discrediting conservatism.

Wow, thanks guys! I laughed so hard I have to go home and change my pants now!

Tosk

Oh wait, Squirrels don't wear pants.... Well, I'll have to change my fur.

Posted by: Ratatosk at January 10, 2005 12:09 PM

I honestly have to wonder if he's sane, to be quite honest. His disjointed ramblings make him sound more like a street-corner schitzo muttering into his MD20/20.

Posted by: Cybrludite at January 10, 2005 01:26 PM

Posted by Ratatosk at January 10, 2005 12:09 PM

Say what you will but he has good ratings in areas with hardly any conservatives and I don't know any conservatives who like him.

Posted by: Thomas at January 10, 2005 01:50 PM

Thomas,

The few people I know who actually listen to him, are usually the ones who will believe whatever tripe anyone spews about the 'other side'. In the case of Savage, they're 'Republican' (I say republican instead of Conservative, because I doubt they actually know enough of politics to understand anything more than their party name).

There are Democrats that are the same... mostly the ones hanging on to every word from Farinheight 9/11.

Posted by: Ratatosk at January 10, 2005 02:08 PM

Posted by Ratatosk at January 10, 2005 02:08 PM

Ok, fair enough. I'd watch my back around either group. :)

Posted by: Thomas at January 10, 2005 03:36 PM

Yep, Michael Savage is a sick individual. It kind of gives me hope to see so many of you, even those of you I would consider to be extremely conservative, denouncing what he said. Conservatives are slowly warming up to the liberal causes of foreign aid and international development, these days. It's about frickin' time. Start being more critical of America's relationship with the House of Saud and open up to the notion of truly cutting our dependence on foreign oil...and we can talk.

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, Savage went on to say in not so many words that the tsunami was God's punishment for the rampant sexual sins of the region. He's like a white supremacist, a fascist, and Jerry Falwell all rolled into one. Don't you just love this guy, fellas? How embarrassing is it that MSNBC actually gave him his own show for a short time?

Posted by: Grant McEntire at January 11, 2005 02:15 AM

PS...

And to quickly preempt a counter-attack on what I said that I can see coming from a mile away: Yes, when it comes to cutting our dependence on foreign oil, I'll be the first to say my fellow liberals are far too concerned with the caribou.

As a good-will ambassador from the center-left, please let me take this opportunity to say, "Fuck the Caribou". I'd love to think we could meet halfway on our different proposals to reach energy independence. How about this?...we get to raise CAFE standards and up the national investment in R&D if you get to drill the hell out of just about anywhere you want to meet the immediate shortfall in supply. It'd be the end of the Hummer as we know it (at least for now) and it might muck up a few national forests here and there, but it'd go a long way towards holding terrorist-supporting/population-repressing regimes to account.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at January 11, 2005 02:26 AM

I can't believe I'm about to say this. Right on, David.

Please don't get carried away. I'm in total agreement with Savage that the Indonesians are anti-American assholes and they certainly don't deserve our aid.

Posted by: David at January 11, 2005 05:20 AM

Here is a little something on his background:

http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2003/03/05/savage/index_np.html

You will read jewels such as this: "For years, he made a name cranking out a pile of books on alternative medicine, recommending bizarre remedies such as using vitamin C to stop AIDS and kicking cocaine with coffee enemas."

Posted by: Dragon Fly at January 11, 2005 07:37 AM

Michael -- I appreciate your willingness to criticize conservatives, and to criticize the words and acts of the guy you voted to reelect. Hope you'll look Bush's proposal to abolish social security. For the past couple of weeks, Josh Marshall Talking Points Memo has been focusing on the lies underpinning this multi-trillion dollar hustle. Hope you'll take a stand on this.

Posted by: Markus rose at January 11, 2005 03:19 PM

Does anybody really know if Savage has 'millions' of listeners? Somehow, I doubt it.

Don't laugh, tree rat, that idea about Savage being a mole of some sort has come up before. C'mon, Discordians like you ought to be familiar with such practices.

And why should anyone believe Marshall's views on social security any more than they should believe the administration's?

Posted by: Eric Blair at January 11, 2005 06:35 PM

Eric Blair --
"And why should anyone believe Marshall's views on social security any more than they should believe the administration's?"

Don't 'believe' anything, check out the facts he presents and compare them to what the administration is saying. Then make a judgement based on your values, i.e. your views on whether or not lower- and lower-middle class citizens should have to continue working when they reach their seventies, or whether they should be able to relax just a little bit.

From an article "The Trillion Dollar Hustle" by Thomas Frank:

"The response to higher-risk retirement income is more labor force participation," economist Teresa Ghilarducci of the University of Notre Dame explains. "Women are already working, we're going to run out of immigrants, children are out of the question, so we have only one pool of labor remaining, and that's retirees."

"The idea that the poor should have leisure has always been shocking to the rich," Bertrand Russell wrote in 1932, and the idea clearly still shocks many. "That's the argument I'm hearing from Washington," Ghilarducci continues. "'What does the working class want with retirement? They ought to work.'"

http://www.harpers.org/TrillionDollarHustle.html

Posted by: markus rose at January 12, 2005 07:30 AM

>>>"Josh Marshall Talking Points Memo has been focusing on the lies underpinning this multi-trillion dollar hustle."

What could be more of a hustle than paying into a system that will be bankrupt by the time I'm old enough to retire.

It's my money, let me keep a little of it.

Posted by: David at January 12, 2005 12:06 PM

David -- I don't expect you to be able to acknowledge facts that challenge any of your present political assumptions, so I won't beat you over the head with them. My comments are directed at Michael, who has been very forthright about stating where he stands on foreign/military policy, and on "social" issues. He is much more muted on economic/fiscal policy questions, and so I'm urging him to take a stand, at least on this one.

Posted by: Markus Rose at January 12, 2005 01:32 PM

Markus,

That was rather condescending. But there were precious few facts to acknowledge in that overly long and self-indulgent piece. It was a fluff piece. I had to get more than halfway through the article before it even started to address the merits of the issue. But there was a lot of condenscending editorializing about how ill-equipped Bush and his team were re social security.

Here is a rare comment he actually makes on the merits:

Owning shares of stock might give you a secure retirement or permit you to ride out a period of disability, but only if you're lucky. If you pick lousy stocks, or if you don't earn enough to buy very many, or if the market doesn't go up and up and up forever, a privatized system won't work.

That's easy. They've proposed a selection of securities that would minimize the kind of risk he's talking about, and the taxpayer would have to choose among those. It wouldn't be a free-for-all as this guy is scaremongering. Certainly, if SS only gives us roughly 2% over the long term, what have we got to lose? Re not earning enough to buy many stocks, that sounds like the present system under SS. You get less in the long run if you paid less into it. What's the difference? At least the poor schmoe will do better than 2%.

Social Security, on the other hand, uses money contributed by all working members of society to insure each of them against economy-wide events—like, say, a stock-market crash—that, by definition, can be insured against only by government.

First of all, as you get closer to retirement, you move your stocks into more secure bonds. It would avoid the type of fluctuations he's scaremongering about. Second of all, what SS currently offers is not that much better than a stock market crash. A lot of people about to retire are going to live no better than Russian peasants on their SS. If they had been able to save for 30 years at 8% instead of 2% they'd be doing a lot better.

But the rest of the article goes into more fluff. Like this:

Social Security has thus traditionally annoyed the country's owners far out of proportion to its subversive content.

and this:

Its (social security) existence is a constant reminder that the free market once failed monumentally to provide Americans with the basic stuff of life. It is also a tantalizing suggestion that human intelligence can sometimes order things more effectively than market forces.

and this:

This logical morass is as good an example as any of what might be called the train-wreck ideal: the right's belief that it can persuade the public that government is bad by giving us spectacularly bad government.

It's a fluff piece Markus. There's precious little in terms of meat, definitely no number-crunching nor economics, nada. Virtually nothing on the merits. Surely you can do better.

Posted by: David at January 12, 2005 03:07 PM

David -- Isn't condescension towards liberals one of your favorite hobbies? I do appreciate however, that you actually read the Frank article. No, it doesn't feature too many statistics. If you (or others) want that, you can go to the Century Foundation's anti SS-privatization website, which contains a bazillion recent and decent pieces on the issue:
http://www.socsec.org/

Posted by: Markus Rose at January 12, 2005 03:51 PM

David -- Isn't condescension towards liberals one of your favorite hobbies?

It certainly is. That's why no hard feelings Markus. It's not personal, just business.

I may wander over to your site, but let me just remark that I have Lib friends (believe it or not) and they are shocked and outraged by the privatization. But when I wanted to know why, they really couldn't give me any substantial reasons. It seemed more visceral than logical.

They were completely unaware, for example, that the list of vendors providing the securities wouldn't be unlimited, and that it would be carefully chosen by our government (Government! yey!). That seems like such a basic fact, and yet you Libs seem to be unaware of it. Also, most people are unaware that SS isn't in a lockbox but is being looted as we speak to pay for today's spending. A basic fact, and few no about it. Does anybody know what your financial return is on SS? Few people do, and they are completely unaware just how little money they're going to be entitled to under the present system. What's to protect? It needs to be revamped. The Chileans have a private SS system and they're very happy with it. It's a model. Are you sure you're getting the full picture?

Posted by: David at January 12, 2005 04:08 PM

David -- it's a fairly complicated issue (though not nearly as complicated as the question of how we as a nation can sustain our health care system in the future, which really WILL BECOME a crisis if nothing is done). I myself have not been able to get up to speed on the details of SS privatization, and so I might not been much more substantive in my response to your assertions than your liberal friends. But I bet Paul Krugman wouldn't have had the same problem.

My opposition to privatization is based on:

1) the principle drilled into my head when I took econ 101: higher returns on an investment always entail higher risk. Social security should be about MINIMIZING risk.

2) my understanding that the SS "crisis" disappears when one is willing to remove the earnings cap on the payroll tax (turning it into a good old-fahioned regressive FLAT tax, something that conservatives profess to love), while very gradually raising the retirement age in future years as life expectency rates go up.

That website address I gave you from the Century Foundation had so many links. One in particular, "No Way Jose!" is a response to those who extol the Chile model:
http://www.socsec.org/commentary.asp?opedid=799

Posted by: Markus Rose at January 13, 2005 09:04 AM

Yes, I agree there are risks, but you have to weight them against the benefits. This shouldn't be an ideological discussion (and it currently is). It should be based only on it's merits. The article you cited was purely ideological.

Another thing to remember Marcus re privatization is that it will only privatize a certain percentage of your contributions-- 50% or less, I believe (but I could be wrong)-- further mimimizing the risk.

Posted by: David at January 13, 2005 10:25 AM

David -- but isn't the argument at heart an ideological one? I think David Brooks pointed this out the other day in the New York Times: Republicans like the idea of privatization because they think it will create more Republicans, and because it allows them to solidify the perception that the interests of Wall Street financiers are invariably identical to the interests of the folks that make their beds, cook their food and scrub their commodes. Democrats dislike the idea of privatization for the same reasons.

Posted by: Markus Rose at January 13, 2005 11:07 AM

Markus,

you and I should support/oppose it based on whether it benefits us, not on whether you hate wall street financiers and their motives, or whether I hate big government and Liberals.

Therefore, regardless of somebody else's motives, does it work? That's all I'm interested in. If the answer is no, then writing an article against wall street financiers and how they offend your Liberal sensibilities won't persuade me, nor will my rants against big government persuade you.

Does it work? That's all that matters. So let's hear the merits of it. Stick to the merits, not "sinister motives" by either side, unless your sole object is to preach to your choir.

Posted by: David at January 13, 2005 11:48 AM

David -- Yes, it works.

It's not broken, and beyond some tweaks, it doesn't need fixed.

A fifth of retirees depend on it EXCLUSIVELY for income, and two-thirds depend on it for over half of their income. It is far from overly generous, but because it exists, Americans know that whatever shit may hit the fan in their fianancial affairs, they and their children will not have to worry about starving to death when they become old to work for a living.

Everyone should be setting aside money for individual private accounts above and beyond SS. And if you think the system as a whole would be improved by allowing Social Security trustees to invest a portion of the Trust Fund COLLECTIVELY in something besides treasury bonds, at Clinton suggested, then I'm open to a discussion of why that might be preferable.

But private accounts that carve INTO the trust fund, however, require individuals to be smart and lucky in their investment choices. I want a retirement system that takes care of the stupid or the unlucky as well, as long as we can afford to do so. And we can.

(Like I said, Medicare might be a different story.)

Posted by: Markus rose at January 13, 2005 12:23 PM

But private accounts that carve INTO the trust fund

There IS NO TRUST FUND. That's social security 101 Markus.

It's being looted as we speak. No "lock box." When the GOP tried to lock it up in the early 90's (along with the Balanced Budget Amendment), the Dems went apopleptic. It cut into their spending. Today, current retirees depend our OUR contributions--today. They are not dipping into a "trust fund."

And please, "tweaks" won't cut it. The demographics are changing too radically for tweaks. Today we have 6 contributors supporting 1 retiree. In 30 years, those numbers will almost reverse. I forget the exact ratio, but it's startling and untenable. Tweaking it won't do it.

Again, there IS NO TRUST FUND.

Posted by: David at January 13, 2005 01:09 PM

David -- Certainly it is a pay as you go system. And when you conservatives try to put out your frequent misinformation about how poor people pay no federal taxes, I have also pointed out that the trust fund surpluses which they certainly do contribute to are used for discretionary spending.

But I need to do more research on the question of trust funds, lockboxes and the results of raiding the surplus, etc. I have some questions myself on the ramifications of how we use the surpluses today, rather than, say, giving them to Merrill Lynch, or burying them in an underground vault.

Until then, wasn't it Clinton and Gore who were the lockbox men, in the late 90's and 2000? And you can't seriously mention balanced budgets and the GOP in the same breath, can you? Nor can you blame the Democratic Congress anymore.

Posted by: markus rose at January 13, 2005 01:47 PM

Until then, wasn't it Clinton and Gore who were the lockbox men, in the late 90's and 2000? And you can't seriously mention balanced budgets and the GOP in the same breath, can you? Nor can you blame the Democratic Congress anymore.

Markus,

it just goes to show, the government (Democrat or Republican) can't be trusted with our future. But you still want to give them your money. I, on the other hand, want to keep their greedy little hands off it--at least a portion of it. It's my money, and my future. But you think when Bush is gone you'll find some "fiscally responsible" Democratic government that won't spend your retirement money? Dream on. None of them can be trusted. But you think (and your article) that's it's some kind of "sacred trust." Right. It's a big hunk of change and people want to spend it. Bush will spend it for his war, and the Dems will spend it for their universal this or that or free i pods or whatever.

It's my money, I want to keep it.

Until then, wasn't it Clinton and Gore who were the lockbox men, in the late 90's and 2000?

nah. Dems have been opposing it:

"Republicans failed for a third time this year to break a Democratic filibuster against the most stringent version of GOP-drafted legislation to bar Congress from dipping into Social Security surpluses for spending increases or tax cuts.

On a largely party-line vote of 53 to 46, Republicans fell seven votes short of the 60 needed to overcome the Democrats and force the Social Security "lockbox" bill to a vote. The only Republican voting with the Democrats was Finance Committee Chairman William V. Roth Jr. (Del.)."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/security/stories/security061699.htm

Posted by: David at January 13, 2005 02:40 PM

David -- "it's my money, I want to keep it" is probably the core belief of the modern Republican party.

It appeals to people's basest instincts, while ignoring the central purpose of government: to accomplish tasks -- like build roads, educate all children, defense, etc. -- that cannot be done by individuals or volunteers. And also, unless your politics are to the right of Teddy Roosevelt's, to protect people and natural resources to some extent from the negative consequences of an unfettered free market.

Finally, it's hypocrtical. The vast majority of this nation's wealth and income is held and earned by those living in Blue states. Republican's in "red states" want to keep their money, but they also want blue stater's tax money transferred to them, for their roads, agricultural price supports, military bases, schools, etc. (sorry, no ipods) As someone once said, they hate government, but love what it does.

And thanks for the link demonstrating Republican concern about the "lockbox" in '99...but if you read the LAST paragraph of the article it states clearly that the Dems didn't support it because it didn't go far enough! They wanted the Medicare Trust Fund to be included as well.

Posted by: markus rose at January 14, 2005 08:09 AM

It appeals to people's basest instincts, while ignoring the central purpose of government: to accomplish tasks..

Markus,

You can focus on my ideology and choose to ignore the merits, but let me wake you up to the fact that no philosophical appeals to a "sacred trust" are going to cut it anymore because that trust doesn't exist, and because that trust is being looted, and the current 6-1 ratio will reverse to a 2-6 ratio in 30 years. Untenable. Platitudes won't cut it anymore, and can't hide that fact. And that's exactly what Libs are giving us right now in defense of the status quo. That's exactly what my Lib friends give me in there defense of the status quo, and that's exactly what your article was as well.

You can't continue to protect the social security status quo with sentiments and ideology. It's not going to sell.

Posted by: David at January 14, 2005 09:29 AM

David --
"current 6-1 ratio will reverse to a 2-6 ratio in 30 years."

You're kidding, right?. In thirty years, two workers for every six non-workers receiving S.S.? I know you would love to outsource as many wage laborers making above the minimum wage as possible, but that ratio is ridiculous.

I think the correct statistic is the one used by your ally on this issue, Ramesh Ponnuru, in the current National Review cover story "Why we Must Reform Social Security":

"In 1950, there were 16 workers supporting each retiree. There are 3.3. today. By 2040, there will be only 2.1."

But...as Cheney said yesterday, "the system is sound today". This despite a nearly 500% increase in each worker's retiree burden over the past fifty years (from 1/16th to 1/3rd of a retiree, using Ponnuru's stats). Workers have managed to carry that increased burden by increasing their productivity. That is to say, we have gotten wealthier! Are you saying our productivity is not going to increase enough to manage the much smaller increase (of about 50%) that will be necessary between now and 2040?

Actually, reading Ponnuru's article, he examines what he calls "the leading liberal plan on Social Security", put forward by economists Peter Diamon and Peter Orszag. His problem with the Dems plan is not that it won't fix the "crisis", but that it would do so in a way that Social Security payroll taxes, [which] "equal 4.9% of the economy now, would rise to 6.6% by 2080."

Poor baby. I really feel his pain.

And I really hope Bush does decide to spend his political capital on this issue. It will prove as politically disasterous for him as Hillary's health care proposal was to the Dems in Clinton's first term, and what turning Gingrich's Medicare privatization sheme was for him in 1995. Ponnuru so much as admits just as much at the end of his article. As he points out, there's not a single damn Democrats in a RED state who is afraid to challenge Bush on the issue.

Posted by: markus rose at January 14, 2005 11:00 AM

His problem with the Dems plan is not that it won't fix the "crisis", but that it would do so in a way that Social Security payroll taxes, [which] "equal 4.9% of the economy now, would rise to 6.6% by 2080."

Markus,

do you have a link for that? I'd love to see how they arrive at that modest tax increase given the projected worker/retiree ratio.

Oh, and here's a Clinton quote I found from the 90's:

"the Social Security system is not sound for the long term," and Mr. Clinton warned, was "threatened by the looming crisis in Social Security." Feb. '98

He did care.

But not enough apparently. (in typical Clinton fashion, he didn't have the fortitude to tackle the tough issues. He did nothing about it.)

But:

"According to Peter Ferrara of Americans for Tax Reform, with partial privatization, "at even below average stock market returns, workers of all income levels would retire with large trust funds paying them several times the benefits promised by Social Security." Plus, it would erase the "$9.5 trillion unfunded liabilities of Social Security, eliminating more real government debt than paying off the national debt." Ferrara also predicts that privatization would result in dramatic reductions in payroll taxes and government spending."

...thereby boosting the economy and creating more tax*PAYERS* (Dems just create more taxes). That way you can have a job so that you can actually PAY taxes and feel better about yourself.

Posted by: David at January 14, 2005 12:17 PM

David --
A "crisis" is to a politician is like falling in love is to a ninth grader: not as big or long-lasting as it seems. Clinton exaggerated too in order to try to seize the agenda from Republican privatizers in Congress. That said, I was willing to consider his proposal for dealing with the situation because what it involved -- allowing a portion of the Trust Funds to be COLLECTIVELY invested in higher yielding sources -- did not expose retirees to nearly the level of risk that individual accounts would.

Ponnuru is the guy who quotes the tax increase figure without disupute -- but his article is not online yet.

Perhaps it is in the book by Diamon and Orszag, which I have not read:
https://www.brookings.edu/press/books/savingsocialsecurity.htm

Enough on this right now for me. You can have the last word (unless you say something really condescending). Neither or us have been able to convince the other, despite both of us having marshalled a fair amount of statistics. That is because this is fundamentally an ideological argument, and we form and maintain our views on it not as a result of dispassionate policy analysis, but rather as a reflection of our philosophical stance about what role government should play in our capitalistic society, and whether our working citizens are ENTITLED to a measure of financial SECURITY under this economic system.

I close with a short excerpt from the New republic online:

"Just about anyone...who's opposed to privatization and isn't either insane or innumerate thinks stock market investing for personal retirement is a great idea...What opponents of privatization object to is using Social Security funds, which are supposed to provide a backstop of income in case your retirement investing doesn't pan out, for that purpose. As Matt Yglesias has pointed out, if you really want people to invest for their own retirement, you should support Social Security in its current form, since having a guaranteed backstop allows people to take risks--and earn potentially higher rewards--which they might not take if the downside were spending their retirement rifling through dumpsters."

Posted by: markus rose at January 14, 2005 01:32 PM

No Markus. The last word is yours. That's what kind of a guy I am.

Posted by: David at January 14, 2005 04:04 PM
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Jihad Versus McWorld
Benjamin Barber, The Atlantic Monthly

The Sunshine Warrior
Bill Keller, The New York Times Magazine

Power and Weakness
Robert Kagan, Policy Review

The Coming Anarchy
Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly

England Your England
George Orwell, The Lion and the Unicorn