Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Don't Blow It

Sorry I've been away.  Browser issues.

The tough economy is going to have people looking for someone else for President.  Unless the economy takes an unanticipated sharp upward turn, Obama's only chance will be to win a negative victory.  It is possible he will do just that if the Republicans help him out. 

Rick Perry's strong record of job creation in Texas should put him in a strong position to take on Obama.  The problem is that Perry will need a convincing message on entitlement reform.  Putting aside the correctness of calling Social Security a Ponzi scheme, rhetorical hostility to Social Security hurts the chances for reforming our largest social welfare programs.  Some kind of substantial (as in trillions and trillions over any given decade) federal-level role in funding and/or forced savings is going to persist whoever wins the next presidential election or the one after that.  The open question is what that federal role will look like.  Any right-leaning reform that leads to a sustainable system is going to involve huge cuts (somewhat in Social Security and more so in Medicare) and substantial restructuring (especially in Medicare and Medicaid.)  Even if these cuts and other changes are gradual and designed to minimize impacts on the most vulnerable, the changes are still going to sound scary.  They are going to sound even more scary when Democrats describe them.

As Maggie Gallagher pointed out, right-leaning reforms are more likely to be implemented and sustained by politicians who seek to reform those programs in a humane and responsible ways, rather than politicians who seem like enemies of any kind of Social Security and Medicare, and who seem poised to use the looming fiscal crisis to swoop in for the kill.     
Categories > Politics

Discussions - 5 Comments

I am not sure why you aren't a Romney supporter Pete. To the extent I agree with you I figure Romney has that message down in a more calibrated fashion.

The attacks on Bernake seem ridiculous. I think the last debate helped kill off some of the Perry momentum, and it was won by Romney. It is a minority view perhaps but I think Ron Paul also did quite well... still I think the race is between Perry and Romney, but now I think Romney leads.

In any case Perry can't take your advice, the facts are that Texas leads the nation in the number of uninsured vs. Mass which leads the nation in the number of insured.

I'm inclined to agree. In regards to Bernanke, any time you can get Ron Paul to say, "That makes me look like a moderate," you know there's an issue. Also, with the healthcare stuff, when asked about it during the debate, Perry seemed completely unprepared and floundered on it. It is looking like things are leaning in Romney's favor.

John I'm not a Romney supporter because I think that even the "modest" kinds of entitlement reforms I favor really do represent big change and enacting even diluted versions of those reforms would be a desperate and at times unpopular struggle. I've never remember seeing Romney keep a position after it became inconvenient and I'm afraid of how he would handle a showdown with the Democrats and their media allies in a fiscal crisis. I think a Republican who folded and did a U-turn on entitlement policy or just flailed around impotently would in some ways be even worse than an Obama reelection. I'm not saying that is what Romney would do. I'm saying I'm not confident that Romney wouldn't do something like that.

So who am I for? Of the current candidates, I don't know yet.

Pete:

I take back my comment that Paul Krugman is stupid. He is not. He is immoral, unethical, and a liar.

Cowgirl.

Fair enough. I wouldn't trust anything Krugman wrote on anything related to politics without independent analysis and confirmation of both the relevant facts and the relevant context.

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