by Ari Armstrong, October 12, 2002
Tom Strickland and Wayne Allard both want to expand Sarah Brady's gun registration program. Neither of them wants to talk about any real reforms for Socialized Insecurity. In many respects, they are indistinguishable. We might call this the "Stricklard Effect."
Sometimes Allard does show signs of hope on the Social Security issue. Every time I hear Strickland's attack ad that quotes Allard, "The worst investment in America is your Social Security account," I almost start to think Allard has a lick of sense.
But Allard doesn't want to make any real changes to the system, and those changes he advocates are bad. He wants to "allow" workers to redirect a small portion of their Social Security tax to mandatory, regulated accounts. Whoopdedo! A real reformer would allow all current workers to completely opt out of the fraudulent Ponzi scheme.
Yet Strickland is a complete idiot on the issue. Charlie Brennan summarizes for his October 8 Rocky Mountain News article: "Any Social Security surpluses, he says, should be used to pay down the federal debt. Savings achieved by trimming the federal deficit should be credited to the Social Security [so-called] trust fund... [which] could extend the solvency of Social Security by nearly two decades..." But that's nothing but a shell game. What happens to the surplus now? Why, government spends it on other projects. So the only way Strickland's plan would work would be to cut other government programs. But then he might as well just cut those programs and pay off the debt directly. Otherwise, Strickland's plan merely increases other taxes. But Strickland's nonsense proposal does nothing to solve the problem that will be created when the Baby Boomers retire en masse and demand benefits from us suckers who are left holding the tab.
If Allard sometimes displays the faintest understanding of market economics, Strickland occasionally pays lip service to personal liberties. With respect to abortion, Strickland says, "The government has no business telling a woman what to do with her body." What a hypocrite! He has no trouble telling a woman what to do with her body with respect to drug use and self-defense.
In a mailer, Strickland says he "supports protecting the privacy of consumers' Social Security numbers, financial, medical, and other personal information." But of course this does not address the fundamental issue: the federal government should not be storing or tracking this information in the first place!
I was again almost encouraged by an October 11 story by John Sanko for the Rocky Mountain News. Every Child Matters "attacked Allard for his votes against spending to protect abused children, treatment for babies born addicted to alcohol, health insurance for children and reauthorizing the school lunch program."
As I read this, I imagined a principled politician who would proudly defend voting against federal spending and proclaim, "Apparently, Every Child Matters thinks only the federal government matters when it comes to helping children. Obviously that's ludicrous. First, the federal government is expressly prohibited from spending money on welfare programs. Second, politicians do a horrible job at managing welfare programs. I want to dramatically decrease the amount of money that Washington politicians spend, so that private citizens regain the right to spend their money on the charity programs of their choice. I don't want my children and grandchildren to grow up in a bloated, uncaring, socialistic welfare state. FREEDOM matters, to every child."
This is what I imagined. So I was of course disgusted to read Dick Wadhams' defense of the aggrandized state. (Wadhams is Allard's campaign manager.) Every Child Matters has it all wrong, Wadhams whined: Allard really does support federal spending for all kinds of unconstitutional programs at the expense of economic liberty.
The conventional wisdom is that Republicans defend only economic liberty, whereas Democrats defend only personal liberty. It's obvious that "Stricklard" defends neither.