Thursday, September 23, 2004

An Opportunity 

The issue of Social Security solvency is one that will become hotter and hotter as the impending retirement of the "baby boom" generation draws nearer. In a debate tonight, Nick Clooney suggested taking the ceiling off of Social Security taxes paid by employees in order to ensure its sustainability. In this brief article (here), Mr. Clooney said his idea is
"a revolutionary idea that nobody is talking about". . . "We're doing that with Medicare," . . . "People with high income don't like the idea but it can make the whole system solvent for 75 years."

If there was ever a hanging pitch for the Geoff Davis campaign to hit, it was this one. According to the story, Mr. Davis' spokesman wasted no time in calling it (rightly) a tax increase saying
So far in this campaign Mr. Clooney has called for increasing federal income taxes by $90 billion, said he is against eliminating the death tax and today called for increasing payroll taxes

If I may, I want to suggest to the Davis people two possible routes with this statement from Mr. Clooney: 1. Point out that there is nothing revolutionary about increasing payroll taxes to fund a government entitlement. It would seem that a changing world and changing economy require different ways of thinking about things, including government programs and how they are run. This leads naturally to point 2: Mr. Davis' campaign should not hesitate at all to grab hold of the President's plan to privatize part of Social Security. By advocating privatization of Social Security, Geoff Davis would draw an immediate and positive contrast with his opponent. Mr. Clooney can try to patch things up as they are but Mr. Davis wants to change a government program to meet future challenges. The images drawn for the average voter would be very effective. Walter Mondale sealed his electoral doom with admitting his desire to increase taxes in 1984 at his nominating convention. Mr. Clooney might have done just the same last night.

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