Andrew Roth & Lawrence Hunter Explain the DeMint free lunch

Mark Thoma does a nice job of reviewing Andrew Roth’s argument for the DeMint Social Security proposal. To be honest, I have stopped saying much about these free lunch fallacies as Mark has in general been doing a wonderful job explaining these issues.

But let me add that Lawrence Hunter makes a little more sense than Mr. Roth:

The gradual phase-in of personal accounts funded by the surplus would force Congress to cut spending by the amount it currently takes from the surplus – about $85 billion a year, or roughly 3 percent of the total $2.5 trillion federal budget. This is easily done if Congress gets serious about spending restraint. Citizens Against Government Waste, the taxpayer watchdog group, recently issued a report identifying $27 billion in pure political pork added to this year’s budget that could easily be tossed over the side in future years.

But Hunter has his math all wrong. 3% of $2500 billion is $75 billion – which is about 3 times the amount of pork he mentions. And his statement about the Social Security surplus being only $85 billion per year seems to be at odds with the accounting provided by Daniel Gross as he points to the last line of table 8 from this document. Even if Congress had the will to eliminate all of this alleged pork, that pays for only ten cents on the dollar.