Looks like there’s a new ostrich in town. Here comes denizen of the media establishment– and former Jimmy Carter speechwriter — Hendrik Hertzberg, writing in the New Yorker about Social Security saying — guess what? — no crisis. Along the way, he takes an uninformed and gratuitous shot or two at the Alliance for Worker Retirement Security, calling it “‘astroturf’, or fake-grassroots, front for the National Association of Manufacturers.” This is obviously a guy who doesn’t know much about us. Might’ve been nice if he at least called before waxing inaccurately.
Along the way he shows some spectacular old school thinking, noting that, “at some point over the next couple of decades, of course, some adjustments will have to be made.” He goes on to float some suggested “adjustments”, like raising the retirement age, raising the cap on wages subject to the payroll tax and “adding a bit of progressivity to the benefits.” Of course, can he find anyone to actually propose these things? Of course not. They’d be vilified by his friends on the left.
To be fair, Hertzberg didn’t have the benefit of last Friday’s confab on Social Security, featuring Social Security Administration Chief Actuary Steve Goss, Congressional Budget Office Director Doug Holtz-Eakin and US Comptroller General Dave Walker. Hosted by Centrists.org, participants came to the un-startling consensus that Social Security is on an unsustainable course and that the sooner we act the better off we will all be. Not sure any facts would have swayed him.
Hertzberg opines in his piece about all kinds of nefarious reasons that the President favors allowing people to opt to invest a portion of their Social Security money in private accounts, but one is left wondering why on earth anyone would oppose it? Do they not trust people to invest their own money? Arrogance breeds more arrogance, apparently. Father government knows best. How quaint.
In any event, we’re thinking of starting an Ostrich Society for people like poor ol’ Hendrik, who clearly have their heads in the sand on this issue. We think maybe we should print up some cute certificates — suitable for framing, of course — and maybe a statuette or a pin of an ostrich, head firmly planted in the sand as dark clouds gather. Heck, we can even call it the Hertzberg Award, borrow the money from our kids to pay for it.
Let us know what you think. Time to start recognizing the ostriches among us, no?
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