Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Social Security and the Left's Success

Arnold Kling and Tod Lindberg On the Left’s Success touch on my favorite subject lately that is the strange and illogical structure of Social Security. 

Here is a quite from Tod Lindberg:
The Left shares the suspicion of government power at the heart of classical liberalism, but only up to a point. Individuals need rights to protect them from overweening government intrusion, true, but government power in the proper hands can do good, and indeed the proper hands must wield the power of government in order to do the good of pursuing equality.
Few on the Left are willing to grant that their critics are likewise reasonable — in other words, that the Left has anything to gain from taking its critics seriously. That leaves the Left in search of an explanation for why it hasn’t won over its critics. The Left has three main explanations. The first is ignorance, in the sense that its critics lack sufficient knowledge of how society could be improved and why what the Left seeks would constitute improvement. For this category, there may be hope in the form of remedial education. The second is stupidity; its critics are simply unable to understand superior wisdom when they face it. There is little hope for them, alas. The third is venality — that its critics know better but seek to defend their position of personal privilege anyway. The only way to deal with these critics is to defeat them politically.

And here is Arnold Kling:
 I see this hard-line stance evident in the progressive’s resistance to any suggestion for reducing government spending. You cannot suggest cuts in the short run, because that would mean austerity. You cannot suggest trimming entitlement promises, because Social Security is sacred and control over health care spending is a job for technocrats. 

Speaking of Social Security and the left, I find it interesting that the left believes they must buy off and fool the rationally ignorant voters to keep them from destroying the program.  The belief is that even though it is absurd that SS pay out bigger pensions to the rich they fight to keep the program as it is to by off the voters because they do not trust the voters too keep programs that are targeted at helping the poor.  They also feel the need to fool the voters by hiding half of the tax by making employers right the check so that it does not show up on pay stubs but they like it that half of the tax is visible so they can tell the retirees that you deserve SS because you contributed. (Though to me "contributed" implies volition so to me it is not a contribution buy a tax.)

This makes SS far more expensive that it could be which limits the help that can be done for the poor.  Keep in mind that you can only tax so much before you get to the wrong side of  the Laffer curve.

I think that we can trust Americans more but perhaps I am wrong, seeing that there is more support for Medicare than for Medicaid, though Medicaid makes far more sense than Medicare.

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