Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The Downside of Scaring Granny

Take a look at this highly unusual piece in the New York Times that I caught on RealClearPolitics. It seems that the absence of Maureen Dowd has permitted the presence of liberal columnists who sort of get it. Could the NYT actually be heading into the realm of respectable dialogue? Unless Maureen's "book leave" is permanent, I doubt it, but I digress.

The writer, Matt Miller is no conservative. He's a proud liberal. But his article does much damage to the Democrats whose berserk rhetoric regarding Social Security reform is turning their party into a laughingstock. While he misses the forest for the trees on the tax issue (ignoring the fact that tax cuts, spurring economic growth will lead to an increase in GDP to the point that even a lower tax percentage of GDP means significantly more real dollars in the treasury), he nails the flagship matter, namely that Bush is proposing smaller increases in Social Security benefits, not "cuts" as the Dems are charging.

They pulled this same effort in 1995 when Republicans wanted to reduce the rate of growth of Medicare. To the Dems, those trims in growth were cast as cuts compared to then-present benefit levels. Very cute, very false. As in 1982 and 1995, they're out to scare granny in order to retain power. Unless this party has people dependent and scared, it can't keep any traction.

But Miller notes, quite correctly, that these same Dems, if they ever regain control, will very likely have to use the same methods to protect the integrity of the program. Fancy that. And while Miller says that this is not a call to join hands with Bush, it may as well be an invitation for the Dems to embrace the President with a wet kiss compared to the truly inappropriate rhetoric which they are raining down in Washington.

But I somehow doubt that, for the sake of the people and their well being, the Dems will cede credit for saving one of the biggest federal entitlements to a Republican, let alone to one who has embarrassed them in three elections in a row.

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