Friday, June 13, 2008

Duncan Black is against the donut hole plan


I suppose I'm in the against column when it comes to Obama's donut hole plan for Social security taxes.

[snip because I can detect no argument against Obama's plan]

So on balance I lean against, but it's not without merit.

...adding, I also oppose because I worry that any opening up of this door provides opportunity for mischief. A desire to win leads to bad Broderesque compromise with awful consequences.

I comment

To be against a policy proposal one should explain why it will make things worse. Obama's plan is not needed to save social security. However, it will reduce the overall deficit (the one that crowds out saving and investment) by taxing rich people.

You (Atrios) think that that is good policy. However, you think it is more important to say that social security is not in danger of collapse than to attempt to implement a policy which you would support if it had nothing to do with social security (as in extra payroll taxes paid to the general fund).

I stress that the "adding, I also" means that you oppose for some reason other than the last one you list, which is the only counter-argument that makes any sense at all.

And not much either. Opening the door on any change to the social security old age and disability program will only lead to bad Broderesque compromises if Democrats are stupid enough to tie exceedingly unpopular benefits cuts to the very popular increase in payroll taxes for the rich (60% without even the donut hole).

Nothing could be better for the Democratic party than a nice filibuster by Republicans trying to add benefit cuts or purely private and personal pension account possibilities.

Now the Democrats have a tendency to stupidly attempt to compromise with the Republicans, but your argument amounts to "that gang can't do anything right so it will end badly." It might be true, but following that logic would cause you to oppose it no matter what it is. This is, perhaps, the issue in which it will be most difficult for the Democrats to make a bad Broderesque compromise. that is not to say that it will be difficult enough to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory that they won't manage.

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