I Can Do This All Day

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George Will casts a well-earned plague on both their houses: Two parties, two wildly different spending solutions, both implausible. But his actual reference is to "Annie", not "Romeo and Juliet":

The two parties disagree even when they agree, as they do about this: Federal spending is on an unsustainable trajectory under current law. They also agree that altering the most important drivers of this trajectory — Social Security and Medicare — is for tomorrow, which is always a day away. The parties propose, solemnly but implausibly, radically different solutions.

Republicans propose cutting taxes and regulations enough to ignite economic growth so rapid and constant that a gusher of revenue will restore fiscal health. This approach is marginally less implausible than the Democrats’ proposal, because one can at least postulate a sufficient growth rate — say, 5 percent, forever. But given the bipartisan normalization of enormous annual deficits — $2 trillion and heading up — substantial borrowing probably would be needed to supplement revenue streams, no matter how large they are.

The Democrats’ proposal is even less realistic: “Tax the rich” until they pay their “fair share.” The Republican approach ignores political and economic probabilities. The Democratic approach ignores arithmetic. The Manhattan Institute’s Brian Riedl explains this in his recent study “The Limits of Taxing the Rich.”

I was never a big Queen fan, but certainly we seem to be "caught in a landslide, no escape from reality". Is this just fantasy?

Also of note:

  • Speaking of Social Security… A couple months back I looked at one of those dreadful AARP mailers which demanded that I (1) petition my Senators and Congresscritter and (2) write them (AARP) a check. One of theit gambits was that proposed reforms to Social Security "could put the money you've earned at risk".

    I objected to that "earned" bit. And in the WSJ today, Andrew G. Biggs has issues as well: No, Social Security Isn’t ‘Earned’.

    Joe Biden and Donald Trump have something in common: Neither wants to touch Social Security. The program’s benefits “belong to the American people,” Mr. Biden said in February. “They earned them.” A month later Mr. Trump said: “We’re going to take care of our Social Security—people have earned that.”

    Both men have used the program as a cudgel against political opponents who have supported reining in benefits to balance the program’s troubled finances. The same goes for Medicare, which the progressive group Social Security Works has described as “an EARNED benefit,” adding that “anyone who proposes cuts to this program is reaching into your pockets and stealing from you!”

    Yet the numbers tell a different story. The Congressional Budget Office and Social Security Administration both find that most Americans are promised Social Security and Medicare benefits substantially exceeding the taxes they’ll pay over their lifetimes. In other words, the benefits are neither earned nor paid for. This ought to lead policy makers to consider fiscally prudent and generationally fair reforms, rather than force younger Americans to fund benefits that older Americans claim to have earned but haven’t fully paid for.

    If anyone's getting ripped off, it's today's young workers. (Thanks, kids!)

  • Maybe Hunter and Donald can be cellmates? I smell an SNL sketch! Andrew C. McCarthy calls them like he sees them. And he sees that The Hunter Biden Tax Indictment Is a Disaster for the White House.

    There are several astonishing things about the 56-page grand-jury indictment filed with nine counts against the president’s son, Hunter Biden, by federal prosecutor David Weiss.

    The first is that it’s dizzying.

    The indictment is scathing in describing the younger Biden’s unsavory lifestyle, his deep dishonesty, and his willful decision to evade tax liabilities on millions of dollars in income and instead spend the money on escorts, drugs, luxury goods, and the like. Hunter is portrayed as exactly the kind of tax cheat who should be prosecuted. In fact, he appears to be just the sort of elitist scoundrel abominated in the rhetoric of his father and Democrats — privileged, addicted to consumption, producing little of real value, and greedily unwilling to pay his “fair share.”

    But here’s the problem: Just four months ago, the same David Weiss tried to bury the same tax case against the same Hunter Biden — offering him a no-jail plea to two puny misdemeanors, a sweetheart deal so out of the ordinary that Weiss’s minions could not answer a judge’s simple questions about it, and that the ever-entitled Hunter’s defense lawyers foolishly blew up over fear of a hypothetical prosecution on tougher charges that Weiss patently had no intention to bring.

    Hope everyone stocked up on popcorn.

  • I gave up reading Andrew Sullivan when he grew obsessed with Sarah Palin's uterus. So I rely on folks like Instapundit to let me know when he's said something worth reading. And here it is, Sullivan describing The Day The Empress' Clothes Fell Off.

    It may be too much to expect that the Congressional hearings this week, starring the three presidents of Harvard, MIT, and Penn, will wake people up to the toxic collapse of America’s once-great Ivy League. But I can hope, can’t I? In the immortal words of Hitch (peace be upon him), as you listen to these people, “You see how far the termites have spread, and how long and well they have dined.”

    The mediocrities smirked, finessed, condescended, and stonewalled. Take a good look at them. These are the people who now select our elites. And they select them, as they select every single member of the faculty, and every student, by actively discriminating against members of certain “privileged” groups and aggressively favoring other “marginalized” ones. They were themselves appointed in exactly the same way, from DEI-approved pools of candidates. As a Harvard dean, Claudine Gay’s top priority was “making more progress on diversity,” i.e. intensifying the already systemic race, sex and gender discrimination that defines the place.

    Especially amusing are the defenders of the university presidents, who (I'm pretty sure) consider smirks, condescension, stonewalling, and finessing to be Business As Usual for people in that orbit.

Last Modified 2024-01-09 9:06 AM EST