Jewish World Review May 22, 2000 /17 Iyar, 5760
http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT IT, since scaremongering is the most potent arrow in the Democratic quiver, it is nothing short of amazing that Republicans ever succeeded in enacting welfare reform. I'm completely serious.
Everyone knows it took three tries and an impending election to coerce Bill Clinton into finally signing that bill into law. And even then, he promised his outraged dependency constituencies that he would undo the bill just as soon as he could muster the political capital to do it. Now, after the success stories are in, he pretends he authored the bill.
Now something else amazing has happened. George W. Bush has come out with a plan to reform an even bigger entitlement: Social Security. Remember, we are still in the era of Clinton, where polls reign, politics rules over policy, and symbolism prevails over substance. Last weekend's trillion-mom powwow is a good example. The White House gun-control crowd orchestrated a rally designed to pressure Congress into passing more laws in derogation of our Second Amendment rights. But instead of disclosing their involvement, they recruited a political ally who happens to be a mother to front as the organizer of the event. Why a mother? Because children are the White House's favorite, and most often invoked, silent constituency, and no one cares more about children than mothers. So if mothers march for radical gun control, then anyone who opposes them is against children.
Well, on the Social Security issue, "the children" don't work quite as well as silent victims for the Democrats. So, they use one of the next most sympathetic groups, seniors. They'll scare them into thinking their retirement is in jeopardy. By the way, I'm not fabricating this. One Democratic strategist, salivating over Bush's vulnerability on Social Security, said, "We'll beat him to death with it, especially among elderly voters." Al Gore, perhaps the nation's foremost fear-monger, paints the Bush plan as even more apocalyptic. He argues that it will destabilize the entire economy and reduce government resources for other programs, including Medicare.
What I find particularly offensive about these scare tactics, beyond the anxiety they cause, is the utter deceit behind them. Republicans were not planning to end school lunches or reduce Medicare spending as Democrats claimed. They are not trying to expose children to greater danger by opposing draconian regulations on private gun ownership. They are not trying to bankrupt Americans' retirement funds. In every case, the exact opposite is true.
Gore can talk until he's blue in the face about Bush's "risky" Social Security scheme, but responsible people in both parties have long admitted that without reform, the Social Security fund has been irreversibly destined for insolvency for some time. The only thing that was uncertain was whether any political leader would ever have the courage to tackle the issue head-on, instead of advocating band-aid solutions that merely put off the inevitable. George W. Bush is exhibiting the raw leadership to confront the core problem rather than whitewashing the symptoms. The only chance of "saving" Social Security is to privatize part or all of it. And that's what Bush plans to do.
Gore's plan to raid the general revenue surplus to subsidize Social Security is the risky and reckless scheme. It does nothing to solve the social security problem itself, relies on surpluses that may or may not exist, and promises to expand government in perpetuity by necessitating even more onerous taxes to prop up the failing retirement system. It is Gore's plan, not Bush's, that will ultimately drain the economy at large.
Maybe Bush and the Republicans ought to start talking
about the children. Don't the children have a right to be
safe in their own homes from criminal intruders? Don't
they have a right to inherit an economic system that is not
hopelessly mortgaged to underwrite the many risky
Democratic dependency schemes? Don't they have a right
to prosper in a society that has not completely enslaved
itself to socialism?
05/17/00: Can Bush risk pro-choice running mate?