Atrios Sells Out!
September 19, 2012 6 Comments
Duncan Black, aka Atrios the Pioneering Progressive Blogger, has hit the big time. From now until the election, he’s writing a weekly online column for USA Today. His very first column addresses one of my favorite economic issues — the importance of Social Security. Black has the radical notion that the supremely successful program should be strengthened by actually strengthening it — that is, by increasing benefits so that more workers can obtain a secure retirement.
BLACK: Instead of considering some exciting new program to try to encourage workers into saving more, another Rube Goldberg incentive contraption designed to nudge individual behavior in the right direction, we should increase the level of retirement benefits in the existing Social Security program.
As Black points out, Social Security is solvent for decades. Unlike, say, the military. And it doesn’t take much to keep Social Security going or buff it up.
I mostly loved the Democratic National Convention, but what drove me crazy was the embrace of deficit cutting as a virtue no matter what is cut.
It would be pretty simple to adopt a centrist approach and say that we should repair the deficit by reversing the tax cuts and military spending that led us to squander the Clinton/Gore surplus. It would be better to adopt a progressive approach and go beyond that to ask the corporations and super-wealthy to contribute at levels they did under radical presidents like Eisenhower. So why are so many Democrats, including President Obama, willing to attack the financial underpinnings of our society — namely, Social Security — to please the Tea Party and the beltway pundits?
My optimistic side would like to see an opportunity in Romney’s recent fumbles. Could progressives now go beyond making sure that Mittens goes down to defeat, and try to actually use this election to promote progressive values?