Thursday, April 29, 2010

More Social Security demogoguery down in Arkansas

A little hard to say who's being worse in the Democratic primary race for the Arkansas Senate seat, the incumbent Sen. Blanche Lincoln or her challenger, Lt. Gov. Bill Halter. In any case, here's the latest Social Security attack ad from Lincoln:




Now, the ad is truthful in that Halter, indeed, appears to have said that he'd support a balanced package of tax increases and benefit reductions to fix Social Security. That said, the only way to fix Social Security is either through tax increases or benefit reductions, so it's not as if Halter went out on a limb here – all he said was that he'd do a bit of each.

Lincoln's promises at the end – she won't privatize Social Security and she won't cut benefits – obviously leaves out any pledge on the tax part. So I guess Halter could respond that Lincoln has pledged to fix Social Security 100 percent by raising taxes and then outline how big a tax increase that would be (pretty big).

This is all pretty stupid stuff. But given that demogoguing Social Security is pretty much the Democratic Party's stock in trade, it's hard for me to feel too sorry for any of them. You reap what you sow, I guess.

3 comments:

Bruce Webb said...

"and then outline how big a tax increase that would be (pretty big)."

0.3% of payroll right away and then a series of 0.2% increases starting in 2026.

Pretty small actually.
http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=r49_nOHQG4QdHuwcbMGmP0Q

Joe said...

"...given that demogoguing Social Security is pretty much the Democratic Party's stock in trade, it's hard for me to feel too sorry for any of them..."

So my question is, what fills in this blank:
"The Republican party's stock in trade is to demagogue __________"

Choose all that apply. Please be honest.
a. national security
b. health care
c. "family values"
d. affirmative action
e. taxes, spending and deficits
f. crime
g. religion
h. "welfare queens"
i. other____________

Andrew G. Biggs said...

Joe -- I'd go with taxes, although given how much they're looking to rise even that might not be demagogic anymore.

Bruce, if people want what you're offering -- and I can imagine that many people would -- then it's surprising to me (literally, not some sort of ironic surprise_ that almost no Member of Congress will talk about it. If people value the program so much and the tax increases would be so small, why is it that no Dem will actually put a bill on the table? I'm not totally sure of the answer to that. Maybe it's the GOP's ability to demagogue taxes.