So Much For The Nixon Going To China Moment

In a move that surprises no one but simply continues politics as usual and adds further assurance that we will run our national debt into fiscal oblivion one day during my lifetime, the President has announced that he opposes changing either the retirement age for Social Security or the amount of benefits people will receive under it in the future. This means that the only ways to deal with the looming drawdown of the Social Security fund will be to a) raise taxes or b) divert money from on-budget programs to SSI or c) both.

Democrats, your leader has made it clear that he has no taste for entitlement reform. Republicans have already done the same — not just for Social Security but also for Medicare. (But they are opposed to “socialism.”) Without entitlement reform, there can be no serious discussion of deficit reduction — defense is only about one-fifth of the total budget, cannot be cut completely, and our spending problem is much bigger than that.

This is the public policy equivalent of a gangrene patient opting to not take antibiotics and other nutritional improvements, and also opting to eschew debridement or removal of the necrotized tissue, proclaiming, “It’ll heal on its own.” No, it won’t. Social Security won’t get better on its own. The budget won’t get better on its own. We have to cut, something, at some point. The sooner we do it, the less painful it’s going to be. Just like pulling off a band-aid, it’ll be better if we do it fast and all at once than if we do it slowly and over time.

Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering litigator. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Recovering Former Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.