Arnold Kling  

Domestic Policy Issues

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I argue that on domestic policy, President Bush should focus on Social Security and health care.


Our existing system was designed when reaching the age of 65 meant that your active life was probably over, and you were likely to die within a decade. Going forward, we need a system that can accommodate everything from early retirement to seniors taking on second careers and new challenges in their 80's. Personal accounts are the key to giving people more options as they age.

For Discussion. Are there other economic issues that ought to take precedence?


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TRACKBACKS (3 to date)
TrackBack URL: http://econlog.econlib.org/mt/mt-tb.cgi/98
The author at Ashish's Niti in a related article titled Social security and education writes:
    Tying Educators Pension to Future Taxes from Students will provide tremendous incentive for Educators to improve Quality of Education and also provide great opportunity to secure Retirement of Educators. [Tracked on August 3, 2004 10:13 AM]
COMMENTS (9 to date)
Brad Hutchings writes:

I hope tax simplification is his #1 goal, as it appears to be Speaker Hastert's. If part of eliminating the IRS involves eliminating the payroll tax, then we get the Social Security reform by default.

I have a feeling that a VAT or a national retail sales tax would be too disruptive to ever stand a chance of passage. A flat tax would never stand up to Democrat demogoguing. So maybe we get something like TEFRA from 1986 with rolling the payroll tax into the income tax and eliminating home mortgage deduction. Wouldn't be all that bad and outcome.

Lawrance George Lux writes:

George W. might enjoy concentration on social security and health care, but he is likely to have other worries. All evidence indicates that inflation is growing faster than Wages, Consumer spending is dropping in direct proportion to the inflatioin rate, Construction is down and descending due to increasing mortgate rates, and energy pricing is as high as it gets. Returning Veteren casualties are expressing a lack of sufficent medical care and pressure to accept minimal buyouts--instead of long-term care for durative injuries. The final note lay in Wages dropping and the Job market not keeping up with entrants into the market. I forgot to mention that the Budget deficit is going to be greater than even the January forecast. lgl

Boonton writes:

Bush will not campaign on any long run vision like SSI reform because, quite frankly, he has zero credibility. I suspect he will attempt to shore up his base by going right culturally (like his support for the anti-gay marriage amendment) and he will buy off others with more proposals for unfunded tax cuts and entitlements.

Jason Ligon writes:

SSI reform is not politically possible, desirable as it might be. The fact that it no longer works from the perspective of those paying the bills is simply more evidence to the beneficiaries of the value of the program.

LGL:

You don't see most of that as cyclical noise?

Lawrance George Lux writes:

Jason,
Cyclical noise it might be, but Bush has already had too many losing Quarters on the economy. Consumer spending is likely to stay low, the Fed will have to counter the inflation, Bush has to really have some 300,000 new Hire months, and Business investment is starting to waver again. He does not have that many months to come up with a rosy picture. lgl

mac mathews writes:

Follow up question: Is the current inflation dilemma a result of Bush's reign of terror or part of the aftermath of Clinton?

Sam Jew writes:

Current inflation is the result of a weaker dollar, which was an economic goal of the current administration.

Alex writes:

Think the country might be ready to go for national sales tax + some minimum flat rate if needed.

Agree that we need to find ways for transfer of skills.

Have been long against the overbenefited govt. employee and univ staffs pensions in looting the various treasuries. It's pervasive across the nation on varied levels. That bill is coming due and going to hit the proverbial fan. Am not alone when state that there is no way the public should pick up that tab.

Jason May writes:

You say "taxes should be used to pay for health care only for those who truly need assistance". What do you propose for a test to determine who truly needs assistance?

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