Monday, February 23, 2009

Two Excellent Articles on Social Security

I love economists who have their own blogs. Paul Krugman gives the view from 40,000 feet of the entitlement issues facing us in Entitlements on the Back of an Envelope.

And Krugman links to an equally good article in today's Washington Post, called Deficit Hawks Attack Our Entitlements. The author, Robert Kuttner, concludes:

Since the early 1980s, [Wall Street banker, billionaire, former Commerce Secretary] Peter G. Peterson has been warning that future entitlement deficits would crash the economy. Yet when the crash came, the cause was not deficits but wild speculation on Wall Street.

Now, with 401(k) plans swooning and health benefits being cut, Social Security and Medicare are the two bedrock programs that keep tens of millions of elderly Americans from destitution.
Yep, that's right.

The mantra of people like Peterson is that we cannot afford Social Security. They've chanted it so often that it's now conventional wisdom. If you go to enough Washington parties, you just might think it's what all "responsible" people think.

But actually, we can afford Social Security. We just have to place a higher value on it than on tax cuts for Pete Peterson, or on reckless wars that bleed our treasures, human and otherwise.

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