Friday, April 29, 2005
Infantile American Principle
How could anyone be opposed in principle to private investment accounts within Social Security? I could understand Democrats arguing that "private accounts are a wonderful idea but the country can't afford the transition costs right now." But mostly I hear Democrats saying they're a lousy idea, and that President Bush wants to wreck Social Security — because, after all, he wants to let you keep a great big whopping 4% of your payroll taxes in a private account instead of handing over every cent to the government. How on Earth could anyone be opposed in principle to letting taxpayers manage a minuscule fraction of their own money (their own money, dammit!) if they want to? Because private accounts violate the Infantile American Principle, so dear to Democratic hearts. Little kids should turn over their cash to the Big Smart Government for safekeeping.
But of course they can't say that, so instead they say, "Bush wants to privatize Social Security" — as if government were going to wash its hands of the whole mess. The technical term that logicians use for this rhetorical gambit — applying a correct word for one part of a proposal to the proposal as a whole — is "lying."