July 13, 2008

A clear trend of cluelessness

From Paul Krugman's blog at the New York Times:
Dean Baker points us to John McCain saying that
"Americans have got to understand that we are paying present-day retirees with the taxes paid by young workers in America today. And that’s a disgrace. It’s an absolute disgrace, and it’s got to be fixed."
As Dean correctly points out,

Of course present-day retirees have always been paid their benefits from the taxes paid by current workers. That has been true from Social Security’s inception.
I’d guess that there are three things going on here.

First, McCain has no idea how Social Security works. That may sound hard to believe, but not to anyone who has spent any time in or around the federal government. Politicians, by and large, get where they are mainly by looking and sounding good; this may or may not go along with any actual understanding of governing.

Second, McCain lives in the Washington bubble; and as I wrote a while back,
Inside the Beltway, doomsaying about Social Security — declaring that the program as we know it can’t survive the onslaught of retiring baby boomers — is regarded as a sort of badge of seriousness, a way of showing how statesmanlike and tough-minded you are.

Finally, McCain has surrounded himself with people who hate Social Security. They probably tell him that it’s a doomed Ponzi scheme, and he believes them.


At 7/14/2008 10:12 PM, Blogger Andy said...

McCain has shown a complete inability to grasp policy details over and over. From not being able to distinguish Sunni from Shiite to implying that he really has no idea about how social security has operated since its inception. If Obama showed the same lack of understanding the press would be crowing about his inexperience.

One of the most astounding things has been the free pass that McCain has gotten on his health care plan. McCain’s plan is a complete reordering of employer based health care. Obama’s plan essentially augments the employer based system. McCain’s actually taxes insurance benefits paid by your employer as salary and then attempts to cover this with a tax credit.

You can check it out here http://econ4obama.blogspot.com/2008/04/mccains-health-care-plan.html

At 7/15/2008 2:24 PM, Blogger nicodemus said...

Both McCain's and Obama's health plans are not "plans" at all. Both fail to address the real problem which is 1) skyrocketing costs and 2) the large number of un-insured and underinsured, the working poor who lack access to health care.

If you interviewed any of these people, (the un-insured, under-insured and working poor). I'll bet that NONE of them would say "gee I want a tax credit". or "I want a free market solution" or "a medical savings account". No, poor people who lack health care won't say these things because to them, tax credits are irrelevant and also they don't have the money to put INTO a medical savings account. Or what if they are jobless? So much for "employer-based health care" if you don't have an employer!

We have been talking about affordable health care for years and the problems don't go away. Republicans really don't give a crap and they say "let the market work" which means doing nothing. And they'll talk about their medical savings accounts and this type of flim-flam.

Democrats talk about "affordable health care" every election year as a slogan to pander for votes. And then they do nothing, or if Democrats do come up with something, it is some wishy-washy proposal that tries to appease all the special interests... and does nothing.

At 7/16/2008 12:29 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Couldn't argue with that if I tried.

The bottom line, it appears, is that "big pharma", the insurance industry, and the huge health care corporations have an iron grip on both parties which prevents any meaningful reform.

The solution? Get a handle on such influence, either by campaign finance reform, ethics reform, etc.

Obama has at least made efforts in this area. (and so has McCain, though he was thoroughly villified and denounced by his own party, and... he now argues against his own proposals.)

It seems apparent to me that unless and until the unlimited access bought by unlimited money to politicians is at least regulated somehow, the status quo will remain, and the American people will always end up on the short end of the stick, as long as their interests conflict with those of massive corporate interests.


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