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June 26, 2005

Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps? (Yet Another National Review Edition)

Hilzoy has convinced me that National Review is not fit for birdcage liner: parakeets deserve much better:

Obsidian Wings: Stop Me Before I Spend Again! : By a strange coincidence, the National Review had an article yesterday advocating the same approach to Social Security that the Republican Congressional leadership just adopted. It's too completely disingenuous to merit fisking, but it does contain one crucial falsehood that it's important to point out:

"The gradual phase-in of personal accounts funded by the surplus would force Congress to cut spending by the amount it currently takes from the surplus %u2014 about $85 billion a year, or roughly 3 percent of the total $2.5 trillion federal budget."

Taking the Social Security surplus and using it to create personal accounts does not force Congress to cut spending by one dime. The Republicans in Congress have rescinded the PAYGO rules, which would have required any new spending to be paid for. There is no other law or rule that requires that any new spending be matched either by tax hikes or spending cuts. So adding a trillion dollars' worth of new spending over the next ten years would not in any way require corresponding cuts in other government spending.... [T]he only thing that could... cut spending is... fiscal responsibility. If members of Congress were unwilling to charge their spending to the national credit card... they would... make up the costs.... But if they had a sense of fiscal responsibility... they would exercise restraint all by themselves.... [I]f one wants to reduce the size of government, cutting spending is a much better way to do it than cutting taxes in the hopes that eventually you will be "forced" to cut spending.... It's like trying to lose weight by giving up on exercise, hoping that once you are no longer able to eat much of anything without gaining weight, your weight will shoot upwards, you'll develop serious health problems, and then you'll finally develop enough motivation to go on a diet. That's a stupid thing to do to yourself, and an even more stupid thing to do to your country...

Posted by DeLong at June 26, 2005 07:50 PM