I’ve been despondent about the prospects for explaining to the professional chatterers — let alone the voters — how phony the “Social Security crisis” is. Of course it’s clear as daylight the whole thing is a scam, but neither Max Sawicky’s calculations (the excess returns from stock investments that make the Bush plan work will only come in under economic circumstances so favorable there’s no problem to fix in the first place) nor Paul Krugman’s crystalline prose seem to me likely to penetrate the hive-mind that is public opinion.
But Brad DeLong comes up with something far more potent than analysis or a clear essay. (He’s given us those often enough in the past, and will in the future.) Brad comes up with a phrase that’s potentially a slogan: we don’t have a Social Security crisis, we have a General Fund crisis. Not only is GWB offering us the wrong fix, he’s offering us a fix to the wrong problem.