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July 31, 2008


Christopher Taylor

By now, McCain knows enough about the numbers to propose a real solution to Social Security’s impending implosion. The solution will require raising taxes or cutting benefits.

Or cutting spending. You always seem to leave that out. Cutting spending elsewhere, like the constitution requires. Somehow you guys on the left just cannot seem to remember that option. It's always "you have to raise taxes!" as if the possibility of spending less just isn't even an option on the table for you.

I mean, what do you do when you are spending too much and get into debt in real life? Go demand more pay from your boss?




Frank Warner

Cutting benefits is cutting spending. I didn't leave that out.


When did Obama suggest his "real plan" would include cutting benefits?

Christopher Taylor

Not cutting benefits, cutting spending elsewhere. Not "you get less, losers because we can't figure out how to spend our money" rather "we're overspending, it's time to spend less elsewhere so we can afford to keep this program going.

Could you at least admit this is a possibility? Did it enter your mind at some point rather than "raise taxes?"

James O

From what I recall, Social Security and Medicare consume roughly half of the federal budget. About ten percent of the budget is spent on paying interest on the debt, and about one quarter of the budget goes to defense. Only about a quarter of the budget is discretionary spending - half of what we spend on entitlement programs. Thus, cutting spending, while it would certainly help, is a little bit of a quixotic solution - not unlike the way McCain sometimes infers that we can solve all our budgetary problems by simply killing pork. That's a part of the solution, sure, but it isn't going to solve it by itself, not by any stretch.

The entitlement crisis is going to require a combination of tax increases (which conservatives won't abide,) spending cuts (which the left won't abide,) and a gradual shift to private accounts (which the AARP won't abide.) At the very least though, we absolutely must not allow politicians to implement new entitlement programs like a NHS, unless your idea of fighting fire involves using napalm.

Christopher Taylor

Thus, cutting spending, while it would certainly help, is a little bit of a quixotic solution

Think so? What happened in 1990s when Clinton finally signed a balanced budget. That didn't cut any spending, it just flattened it, no more raises for a few years.

You seem to be implying that budget cuts could not be made in any social spending at all, that it's impossible to find waste, bloat, even fraud in the social spending that takes up more than half the budget. That we couldn't cut pork out of the military budget, shut down entire unconstitutional and superfluous offices.

Cutting spending is how you deal with budget crises, even if you're in the government.

James O

I'm not implying that whatsoever. What I'm saying is that non-defense discretionary spending (which is usually the main target for conservative spending cuts) is small relative to entitlement spending. Will spending cuts help? Naturally (unless the lower-taxes crowd manages to latch on to the lowered spending, and then we're back to where we started.) However, the entitlement crisis isn't going to be solved by spending cuts alone, anymore than it can be solved by tax increases alone. It's going to take some of both, along with fundamental reform.

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