August 7, 2006
There's some good sense in Government Shrinkage Goal, By Grover Norquist. And yet it's painful to see what a small-minded man he is, only seeing the dollars-and-cents aspect, and not the deeper spiritual and cultural implications of what he advocates...(Thanks to Orrin)
....The solution to the spending problem is to replace politically suicidal, or at best difficult, efforts to "cut" spending with politically profitable "reforms" of programs that will reduce their long-term costs. [Somebody--maybe Orrin-- recently wrote that having the government provide a lot of security was to "cost" of giving women the vote. I think that's true, and that that's a lot of the reason why it's politically suicidal to cut spending. Bush's "Ownership Society," which is what Norquist is writing about here, is an attempt to end-run this problem.]
The best example of this is "privatizing" or "personalizing" Social Security, moving the system from the pay-as-you-go, unfunded, Ponzi scheme to a fully funded, independently held personal savings account system. When fully phased in every American will be required to save, say, 10 percent of their income and accumulate real resources to buy an annuity at retirement that will keep one out of poverty and allow one to keep all savings beyond that minimum to be spent as one wishes. Social Security can be reformed to cost not its present 20 percent of the federal budget but rather remove it from the budget. [Right on. But what's really important about this is not just getting unfunded liabilities out of the budget, but in making people self-reliant, rather than being dependent on big government. Which is why leftists HATE the whole idea, and claim Bush wants to "destroy" SS, even while they have their own retirement nest-eggs invested in the market. Vile hypocrites.]
Medicare can be similarly financed through allowing Americans to save their Medicare tax payments. Health savings accounts can give Medicare and Medicaid programs real competitive pressures to reduce costs without voting for any "cuts." [Ching! Yes. But again, the real benefit is spiritual or psychological. People should be making their own decisions about their and their family's health. Anything that prods them into taking responsibility is good. And your HSA is your money--that tends to concentrate people's attention.]
On education, the only reform worth enacting is real parental school choice. With private schools costing half of what government schools cost, public schools over time will have to become as cost-efficient and effective as private schools. [Yes, correct. But to me it's passing strange to write in this bloodless way, and never mention the dreadful human cost of failing inner-city schools. Or even the dollars-and-cents cost, in increased crime and welfare. Weird.]
Pipe dream? No. We are on track to make all three key reforms a reality in the next decade. The case for Social Security reform is politically strengthened as more and more Americans own shares of stock directly through mutual funds, individual retirement accounts and 401(k)s. When Ronald Reagan was elected, only 17 percent of adults owned stock directly. Today more than 50 percent of households and 2 out of 3 voters in the 2004 election do so. That number grows as all new companies use defined contribution retirement systems rather than defined benefit plans....
Doom for the Left. Ha ha ha. And oh so richly deserved...
Posted by John Weidner at August 7, 2006 7:23 AM