Behind the Magic 8 Ball on Social Security

By February 2, 2005Miscellaneous

Remember that cool little Magic 8 Ball? You’d grab it in your hand, ask it a question, turn it over and — presto! — your answer would appear through the window on the bottom. “Don’t count on it” it might say, advising caution, or “Yes – definitely”, the green light to go for the gusto, or any one of 20 answers.

Well, we’re thinking that the Washington Post and some Congressional Democrats have a Magic 8 Ball all their own. When they get in a policy pickle of one sort or another, they grab it, give it a shake, turn it over and peer through the magic window. Problem is, their 20-sided oracle within has very few options. “Raise taxes” would be one, “Cut benefits” would be another and, judging from the latest Social Security debate, “There is no crisis”. In short, classic old school thinking.

The Washington Post weighed in with an editorial this week, joining the Hertzberg Ostriches (See, “The Ostriches Gather”, below). There’s no crisis they say and anyway, why not just raise taxes or cut benefits? If benefits are not cut, they would need to raise the FICA tax by as much as 80% in the out years. Just what the economy needs. As for cutting benefits, is this something they want to propose?

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, for his part, echoed the “no crisis” mantra of the left this week, vowing that none of his minions would vote for the radical notion of allowing people the option of investing a portion of their Social Security in a personal account. Of course not. Too much power in the hands of the individual, not enough in the hands of government.

However, the whole debate on that side is all so pointless. If the Post and Hertzberg believe we should raise taxes and cut benefits, then where is their standard bearer? Where is the brave Democrat who will author that bill, who will stand up and say yessirree, this is the fix to end all fixes: we’re gonna raise your taxes and cut your benefits?


Didn’t think so.

That’s what’s so disingenuous about it all. They might have a little more credibility if instead of nattering from the sidelines they actually had a sponsor and were supporting a bill with their favorite Magic 8 Ball solutions: Raise taxes, cut benefits. Sen. Reid, maybe? Sen. Kennedy? Sen. Clinton? Sen. Kerry?Hmmmmm….wait….Let’s give the ball a shake here…

Turn it over…

One minute….

“Don’t count on it.”