Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Staying Single

I'm hoping Reductio will also weigh in on this idea, since this is more up his alley of expertise, but it's clear to me that the Republicans continue their determined march away from reality:
Republican budget writers say they may have found a way to cut the federal deficit even if they borrow hundreds of billions more to overhaul the Social Security system: Don't count all that new borrowing.

As they lay the groundwork for what will probably be a controversial fight over Social Security, Republican lawmakers and the Bush administration are examining a number of accounting strategies that would allow the expensive transition to a partially privatized Social Security system without -- at least on paper -- expanding the country's record annual budget deficits. The strategies include, for example, moving the costs of Social Security reform "off-budget" so they are not counted against the government's yearly shortfall.
Well, that was easy. Boring Diatribe will shortly be informing its credit-rating agency that our various debts and obligations shouldn't be counted because -- well, just because we say so, that's why.

This nonsense will go on just long enough to achieve calamity, as a certain chief economist with Morgan Stanley had occasion to remark recently (thanks, Atrios):
Stephen Roach, the chief economist at investment banking giant Morgan Stanley, has a public reputation for being bearish.

But you should hear what he's saying in private.
Roach met select groups of fund managers downtown last week, including a group at Fidelity.
His prediction: America has no better than a 10 percent chance of avoiding economic ``armageddon.''

Press were not allowed into the meetings. But the Herald has obtained a copy of Roach's presentation. A stunned source who was at one meeting said, ``it struck me how extreme he was - much more, it seemed to me, than in public.''

Roach sees a 30 percent chance of a slump soon and a 60 percent chance that ``we'll muddle through for a while and delay the eventual armageddon.''

The chance we'll get through OK: one in 10. Maybe.
Hell, at least while we're all starving to death, the queers won't be married. In fact, put that on America's headstone:
"At Least The Queers Stayed Single."


Blogger Reductio said...

I'll try to post more discussion later on the whole privatizing social security and thereby creating an ownership society, but first a quick comment on moving SS off-budget.

It is what every administration does. Whenever SS collections exceed current expenses, it is on-budget (like the last 10 years or so), whenever current SS expenses exceed collections it is moved off budget. The budget always looks a little better, and the uderlying economics are the same.

It's just harder for the electorate to clearly understand without a little extra legwork.

What makes this effort a little more egregious, of course, is the intent to recklessly incur an additional 2 trillion expense in order to dramatically increase the short term likelihood of bankrupting the SS system.

9:12 AM  

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