Thursday, March 17, 2011

Weird Politics

A new WaPo/ABC poll cited today by Ezra Klein demonstrates the weirdness of our politics: Republicans are great at stirring up anxiety and unfounded fears but terrible at following through on policy - because so much of the fine print of their ideologically-driven agenda won't fly with many of the same voters who elect them:

According to the survey, more than 80 percent of Americans believe the (Social Security) system in crisis. And, in a reversal of recent results on this issue, Republicans are more trusted to handle it than Democrats: 44 percent of respondents favored the GOP, while only 42 percent favored President Obama (this is primarily due to Democrats trusting Obama at a low rate on this issue). But when it came to solutions, most cuts were opposed by a majority of Americans. Almost 60 percent were against raising the retirement age and almost 70 percent were against cutting scheduled benefits. The only fix that garnered majority support was lifting the payroll-tax cap so that all income, rather than just the first $107,000, got taxed. That’s a reform, I’m confident to say, that the Senate’s liberals would have less trouble swallowing, and according to the Congressional Budget Office, it would wipe out virtually all of Social Security’s shortfall.

So if this is just about balancing Social Security’s books, it shouldn’t be too difficult. We can pass the reform and raise the debt ceiling with no problem. Huzzah! On the other hand, if we’re in one of those conversations where we’re pretending to talk about balancing the country’s books but we’re actually only talking about “cutting spending” and revenues are off the table, well, that’ll be harder.

"If" we're in one of those moments of pretend "fiscal conservatism"?  Ya think ?

1 comment:

  1. This article explains the foolish practice of "starve the beast" very well. Thanks for posting!