Social Security ‘Reform’: the Undead Return

by Bruce Webb
What does it take? A stake through the heart? A bullet through the brain? Baker and Krugman do some pushback.
Dean Baker in his post The Post’s Jihad against Social Security points to this article Obama Predicts Years of Deficits over $1 trillion and notes that they don’t hesitate to single out the usual suspect. Is it the cost of the war? The cost of the bailout? The cost of the stimulus package? Nope apparently those are just short term problems. Instead as always the first stop for deficit reform is Social Security.

WaPo: The mounting debt has raised an alarm on Capitol Hill, where some Republicans and moderate Democrats are pressing Obama to tackle the looming challenge of skyrocketing Medicare and Social Security spending, and to adopt tough new budget rules to prevent future deficits from ballooning.

Which leads Dean to reply with some exasperation:

The article includes a comment about “the looming challenge of skyrocketing Medicare and Social Security spending. ” Of course Social Security spending is not projected to skyrocket. It is projected to increase gradually, and its costs are fully covered by its own tax stream until 2048, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s latest projections.

In a related note Paul Krugman poses the question in a Jan 5 post A Bullet Dodged

What would have happened if George W. Bush had actually succeeded in his plan to privatize Social Security?

and suggests an answer ‘Ask the Italians’ Bloomberg News: Italian Pensions Sapped by Private Funds Bush Backed

In my view it is practically criminal for policy makers to be wasting a second talking about Social Security given the very real possiblity we are headed for a new Great Depression. And so equally criminal for opinion makers to be twisting current events to pursue this old vendetta. It is a shame that people like Baker and Krugman still have to keep a vigilant eye out for the zombies intent on eating the flesh of Social Security. Maybe we can make a deal. If the Right will simply stop taking every possible opportunity to take a bite at Social Security then I promise to shut up. And then maybe we can let Krugman and Baker continue the really important discussion.

“Social Security ‘reformers’! Report back to your graves!”