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September 13, 2009


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Let me respectfully suggest that each side defines centrism considerably to one side of the actual center . . .

Bush did, according to Andrew Biggs (who was there) make repeated declarations that he was willing to compromise on the payroll tax. But it is not in question, because they issued many press releases saying so, that the Democrats outright refused to talk about any plan that included carve outs. It would be as if the Republicans said that they refused to talk about any plan that included subsidies for lower income people--that's 95% of the point of the thing, for the other side.

Bad time, right before I gotta run to class ... if President Bush did in fact offer to allow payroll taxes to be raised, then I am wrong and you are right. Or at least more right. Where'd Biggs say that, and is it corroborated?

And about the definition of the center, yes, absolutely.

Be back in a couple hours.

Hi, Megan! Back in the office.

I found this piece by Biggs, which implies that Dubya was sticking to his guns on the payroll tax issue. But that doesn't mean that Dubya wouldn't've compromised. I'd very much appreciate the cite.

I honestly don't understand why add-ons would have ruined the point of the reform. That's an honest question --- once upon a time I was a registered Republican and pretty conservative to boot, and I don't see why I would have considered carve-outs to be 95% of the reform. In fact, back when I favored that sort of thing, I wouldn't have considered carve outs to be any part of a pension privatization scheme, because of the transition cost problem. Unless you want introduce some sort of strange supply-side argument into pension reform, the sensible proposal is to have add-ons, with later reductions in the payroll taxes destined for the paygo system as the transition generation passes away.

I'm all for analogies, but I'm missing something with this one. What am I not understanding?

As you know, I'm pretty skeptical of the benefits of pension privatization for reasons laid out in Chapter Six of this book. Unless they raise net national savings, I don't see the benefit. But skeptical does not mean rabidly opposed, it means skeptical.

Readers, (whomever you may be) would it be worth distilling the argument into a blog post? I get the feeling this debate was hashed out ad nauseam a few years ago, but what do I know?

Please do. Nearly everything's been hashed out ad nauseum, but that actually tends to cloud the main issues with secondary details & arguments.

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