I generally agree with Kevin Drum, but he periodically says things that make me think he lives in an alternative universe. For instance, here’s what he thinks would happen if we implemented recommendations of a commission to “save” Social Security:
Even Republicans agree that privatization is off the table right now, which means that a bipartisan commission might very well come up with an acceptable set of tweaks that would balance Social Security’s books. And there’s a genuine upside to this: at a fairly low cost it would take Social Security off the table for good. No more endless whining from Pete Peterson and the Washington Post editorial board. No more Republican kvetching about Social Security bankrupting America. No worrying about yet another privatization plan rearing its zombie head the next time a Republican is in the Oval Office. No more polls showing that more kids believe in UFOs than believe they’ll get a Social Security check when they retire. And Barack Obama would get a very nice post-partisan fiscal responsibility feather in his cap.
Sane Republicans agree that privatization is off the table, but sane Republicans are largely leaving the party. So a commission will be stacked with the dregs of wingnut Republicanry.
Furthermore, we already did this. Alan Greenspan led a commission in the ’80s that suggested changes that would save Social Security forever by soaking lower income workers. Congress implemented the commission’s recommendations. And Social Security is fine. Depending on this or that, its massive surplus might possibly run out 40 years from now. However, as Mike the Mad Biologist has pointed out, “the Social Security Board of Trustees has predicted that Social Security will be insolvent in 30–38 years every year for the last fourteen years.”
So when Kevin Drum says that a commission’s recommendation would take Social Security off the table forever, I have to wonder if he’s been asleep for the last 30 years.
There is no crisis, and Republican whiners can suck on it.