Study their behaviors. Observe their territorial boundaries. Leave their habitat as you found it. Report any signs of intelligence.

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Democrats Not Nominating Their Best Demagogue

In May I predicted "Edwards would beat any Republican, Giuliani would beat any other Democrat, and Obama would beat Romney or McCain, who each would beat Hillary." I still think that's right, and I don't quite understand why the Democrats aren't going to nominate the most skilled demagogue in the race. Here's John Edwards flat-out lying through his teeth even as he lectures his competitors about telling "the truth":
The American people deserve to hear the truth. They have heard so much politician double-talk on this issue. That's the reason young people don't believe Social Security is going to be there for them. Why would you possibly trust a bunch of politicians who say the same thing over and over and over? "We're going to grow our way out of this," but nothing changes. Nothing changes. The honest truth is: There are hard choices to make be made here. The choice I would make as president of the United States is on the very issue that you've asked about, which is the cap. And I have to say, I have some difference with my friend, Chris Dodd, who I agree with a lot. But I don't understand why somebody who makes $50 million a year pays Social Security tax on the first $97,000 and somebody -- and not on the rest -- while somebody who makes $85,000 a year pays Social Security tax on every dime of their income.

But of course John Edwards understands why Social Security payroll taxes are capped -- it's because Social Security benefits are capped, so that people in the same age cohort who make similar "contributions" get similar benefits when they retire. He surely cannot claim to be ignorant of the central and fundamental premise of Social Security: that it is social "insurance" financed with premium-like "contributions", and not simply a scheme to soak the rich and the young in order to buy votes from the not-rich and not-young. When a benefit is financed according to ability to pay instead of by some function (however tenuous) of the amount one has contributed, then it loses all pretense of being "insurance", and is exposed as unabashed income redistribution and shameful rent-seeking.

Thus John Edwards is either a lying demagogue, or is too colossally ignorant to be allowed anywhere near the Oval Office. I leave it as an exercise for the reader whether being a wealthy trial lawyer correlates with 1) the ability to manipulate jurors with affectations of ignorance or 2) actual colossal ignorance.

1 comment:

Terry Holtz said...

While I agree that Edwards is beyond the pale, so many programs, such as disability, survivor benefits, etc., are now under the umbrella of Social Security, that to finance the program with a regressive tax, is a crime.

Terry