“No Man’s life liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session”.

- attributed to NY State Judge Gideon Tucker

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Alan Blinder's Smear of Paul Ryan & His 2012 Budget Proposal

Last week, the Wall Street Journal published a political editorial by Princeton's Alan Blinder entitled Paul Ryan's Reverse Robin Hood Budget. The piece was notable because Blinder is an economist, yet the bulk of the article is unsubstantiated political attacks on Ryan and his 2012 budget proposal.

Here's how Blinder began his screed,

"Why do I oppose Rep. Pauly Ryan's plan for reducing the federal budget deficit, the one House Republicans approved overwhelmingly last week? Let me count the ways. Actually, since there is not enough space on this page to count them all, let me just hit the highlights."

He does, however, understand the key issue, when he writes,

"The no-so-hidden agenda is clear: to shrink the government drastically."

Blinder describes Wonderboy's second, reaction budget, as "another huge improvement over the Ryan plan."

Unlike an economically-oriented piece by, say, John B. Taylor, Alan Reynolds or Brian Wesbury, Blinder simply goes political, with a few selected statistics to support whatever he is ranting over in a particular paragraph.

That's odd, since Blinder is usually given space on the Journal's editorial pages for economics pieces.

Since he didn't bother to ground his editorial in economics, Blinder may be fairly judged on simply the politics and logic of his arguments.

Looking back over the past few weeks of posts, including this one concerning irrational expectations for social spending programs, as well as posts discussing Journal editorials by Taylor, Reynolds and Phil Gramm, it's easy to see that Blinder is one of those liberals living in a dream world.

Specifically, he has fallen into the Democratic party's deception that has been underway since 1935, when Social Security began. Simply put, unsustainable social welfare promises were made by some half-witted members of Congress, to be implemented in one of the nation's, if not the world's worst-designed systems.

Once these promises had been in place for 30 years, they became immutable social compacts. Sacred promises from a federal government newly-empowered in the 1930s and by WWII.

The trouble is, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, as designed, were never sustainable or affordable. At best, they should have been designed as current-year funded social spending in the manner of proportional contribution, not defined benefits.

Further, they should have been billed as good-faith attempts by the federal government to help the least fortunate in the country, to the ability that the rest of the citizens could afford, modified going forward by best ideas.

Instead, we got a set-in-cement, common-pool, defined benefit approach for the ages.

Someone of Blinder's intellect and education should know better than to demagogue Ryan's plan as unfair and mean-spirited. The truth is, Ryan is right when he says that if we don't radically alter these programs now, they'll never survive another 25 years without bankrupting the US.

It's pointless to compare an existing plan which recognizes reality with 50 year old promises grounded in ignorance and false assumptions.

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