Unpersuasive Argument Against Reforming Social Security
By Arnold Kling
Calculated Risk writes,
The debate should be focused on the two major issues: Health Care and the General Fund deficit. Without addressing those issues first, reforming Social Security is irrelevant.
Even if one were to accept the premise that the fiscal problem is larger elsewhere, this is a phony argument. CR is acting like an angry teenager, sticking his fingers in his ears and saying “I’m not listening to you.”
But the premise is also wrong. If we allocated a larger share of payroll taxes to Medicare instead of SS, we could argue that Medicare is not a problem but SS is the big issue. We should be looking at the challenge of funding spending as a whole, not looking at the arbitrary allocation of taxes to different programs. In terms of overall spending, Social Security is a gigantic issue.
Finally, it is disingenous to whine that we need to solve the other problems first, without offering a solution. Overall, this stance of “solve X and Y before you tackle Z” comes across to me as mere demagogic rhetoric, the end result of which will be that X, Y, and Z will remain unsolved.