February 2, 2005

SOTU IV: Social Security

W. deserves credit for daring to touch the Third Rail of American politics.

It's also a giant Ponzi scheme (I remember how much this observation, entirely correct, outraged the old Commies in Santa Monica) and demographics mean it's running out of new investors to keep it afloat.

SS is also extremely boring, and extremely popular because it's non-means-tested, and most of the population thinks it's really insurance.

Modest personal accounts, which federal employees already have, are not such a terrible idea, especially if it means some low and middle-income people will have something to leave to their children.

Such accounts won't solve the rest of the crisis, and it's not clear how Bush wants to deal with it (appoint a blue-ribbon commission, as with base closings?)

Bush didn't talk about Medicare, which is in much worst shape, and can get worse faster, because the number of procedures and drugs is increasing, in addition to the demographic imbalance.

The Democrats are paranoid about the pièce de rêsistance of their New Deal being tinkered with.

We'll see, if we live long enough.

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