Tuesday, November 19, 2013

We Need To Ruin It Our Way

One weird idea that seems to infect the minds of Democratic policy wonks is that we need to "fix" a problem in order to take it off the table politically. Basically, we'll do a friendlier "welfare reform" than the Republicans will and then the issue will go away and we can get on to other things. That's what motivates some people with Social Security. We'll do a friendlier fix - Chained CPI+maybe some sweeteners for the truly poor - and then Fred Hiatt will stop talking about and it goes away. If not, who knows what those dastardly Republicans will do when they're in power!

Now I think this was wrong - if not crazy - with respect to "welfare" because welfare, especially the super secret welfare system that only blah people have access to, wasn't popular. So trying to take it off the table for awhile made some sense. Of course the problem is that it still won't stop them from trying to gut anything resembling help for the poor when they get a chance.

But Social Security is popular! There's no way they're going to have much luck gutting it. We saw "them" try, but "them" was really just the Bush administration. Republican members of Congress weren't even really on board.

The only thing a Social Security "fix" takes off the table is nasty notes from Fred Hiatt, but it won't even do that. Any "fix" will never be enough.