Krugman on Dean V
February 15, 2005
If you want to know how liberal Howard Dean really is, just look at his positions on social issues and look at how he pandered to gay and minority groups last week. I wonder why Krugman didn’t address Dean’s credentials as a social moderate? But beyond the question of whether Dean is a moderate — an absurdly ridiculous assertion anyway — we should look at Krugman’s analysis of the Social Security issue in this column.
Update: Pat Hynes of Anklebiters, has done a great job fisking Krugman as well. One point in Krugman’s column that Pat addresses that I didn’t in any detail is this canard that Dean was a fiscal moderate as Governor of Vermont. Check out Pat’s post for that and other very excellent points, including another one I didn’t address concerning Krugman’s speculation that Dems might have been more effective over the last four years had they taken a stronger stand against the right. Pat skewers this one quite effectively, and for my position on the matter I refer you to at least half of my columns over the past four years :).
But in 2005 it takes an act of willful blindness not to see that the Bush plan for Social Security is intended, in essence, to dismantle the most important achievement of the New Deal. The Republicans themselves say so: the push for privatization is following the playbook laid out in a 1983 Cato Journal article titled “A ‘Leninist’ Strategy,” and in a White House memo declaring that “for the first time in six decades, the Social Security battle is one we can win – and in doing so, we can help transform the political and philosophical landscape of the country.”
What I find most significant about this quote is that Krugman is admitting that Social Security is another sacrament, along with abortion, in the Democrat/Liberal religion. They simply cannot countenance the notion that it is in crisis, or that it is in dire need of fixing because that would be to deny liberal scripture. That would be to deny the Godfather of liberalism, FDR. It would be to deny that all politicians have betrayed the public trust by using Social Security funds from the outset to subsidize the general revenue fund. This is a practice Democrats want to keep on endorsing with a vengeance, all while pretending to be deficit hawks. It truly boggles the mind.
So a little suggestion: While some of us have suggested that we can’t begin to address the Social Security crisis/problem (who cares about semantics?) until we all agree there is indeed a serious problem (how’s that for a compromise?). How about we take that back a step further? Perhaps we can’t even hope to reach a consensus on the the problem-state of Social Security until Democrats are willing to allow exceptions to their sacred, secular, socialist theology. I don’t see how, even with hard cold facts and statistics, we can break through the liberals’ blind faith on this one. And even if we do, pragmatism will set in. Even if they concede it needs to be fixed, they’ll have to be the ones who re-engineer it and they’ll have to do it in a way that preserves it as part of perpetuating their dependency class constituencies.
Oh, and one last point: Contrary to what Krugman says, the Bush administration has not admitted, as far as I’m aware, “that private accounts would do nothing to improve the system’s finances.” They would improve the solvency of the system along with other components of the president’s imminent plan.