Friday, November 16, 2007

Observations triggered by last night's Dem debate

Watching the presidential debates is always aggravating. A few thoughts triggered by last night's debate follow:

---Obama referenced with indignant authority the "raiding of the Social Security Trust Fund by George Bush", which will stop under his administration. Wait a second. The Social Security Trust Fund today is just a big batch of IOU's from the Federal government. There is no segregated account of wealth. The "raiding" started under President Reagan and has continued unabated under every succeeding President. Yes, during the vaunted budget surplus created by the technology hysteria of the late '90 it continued under Democratic President Clinton, which could lead one to ask whether in reality there really ever was a surplus.

---As to that praised surplus that is used by most of the Dem candidates to demonstrate fiscal responsibility by the Democrats, it was created as mentioned above by a stock market and investment land rush unlike anything since the 1920's. The tax receipts from that were unexpected and huge. Despite that windfall, a result of a seismic economic event beyond any one President's initiation or control, the Social Security taxes were still used for general current government expenses. Additionally, President Clinton turned down a proposal to address the AMT problem in 1999 when the fix would have been minor cost relative to today, and any simple math could show where the problem would lead. Finally, during the windfall period that led to the supposed budget surplus there was no signature legislation of investment in the future, in infrastructure, education or healthcare.

---The Democrats have an opportunity to win the Presidency and address important issues in this country. Whether people happen to be a big Democratic supporters or simply advocates of "throwing the rascals out" every so often, the electorate is currently their's to lose. If they choose to listen to the old style Democratic consulting machine that ran the Gore and Kerry campaigns, and the second term Clinton White House, they may eventually just succeed in blowing it. Here's a thought. Respect the American people. Stop being so patronizing. Don't rewrite history. Don't tell us that you'll put "Social Security in a lockbox" eight thousand times(just an example) as if we're only capable of understanding some stupid sound bite, or some old style Democratic cliche. But here's perhaps a cliched comment from Eyes Not Sold---there's too much at stake to keep playing the old game.

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