LBJ invoked in entitlement reform debate 

Rep. Thad McCotter, R-Mich., had some bold comments on entitlement reform on FOX News today that could presage GOP talking points for entitlement in the months to come. His marks were replete with comments on "the 1960s model of big government that is no longer sustainable."

McCotter also invoked a former president, as I transcribed as quickly as I could:

"America knows that in the 21st Century, we can't simply try to prolong Lyndon Johnson's legacy....The Democrats are still locked into a 1960s and 1970s attitude about big government bureaucracy controlling your money."

This is where President George W. Bush was not willing to go in the entitlement reform debate. He endlessly discussed the program's solvency, but failed to address the fact that we live in an age in which so many American have personal retirement accounts of some kind, and Health Savings Accounts have (at least prior to Obamacare's implementation) become increasingly popular.

The problem with the argument is that it is easily countered by scare tactics. Markets don't always go up. It is especially easy to scare people after a massive market downturn, to make them believe that their money is safer in the government's hands.

But it isn't safer. The current budget debate illustrates that even a crisis is not enough to make government cut spending by any serious amount. The Mediscare and Social Insecurity scare tactics gloss over the facts: Social Security benefits will be reduced automatically under current law -- at some point in the 2030s, when the trust fund is depleted -- and Medicare is completely unsustainable in its current form -- not even massive tax increases can fix that.

The bottom line is that people probably won't ever like being told the truth: Government might be able to help seniors avoid dire poverty, but it cannot give you real security in retirement. You're going to have to save up and rely on family, no matter who you are or what you do.

About The Author

David Freddoso

David Freddoso came to the Washington Examiner in June 2009, after serving for nearly two years as a Capitol Hill-based staff reporter for National Review Online. Before writing his New York Times bestselling book, The Case Against Barack Obama, he spent three years assisting Robert Novak, the legendary Washington... more
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