Disco. clubber Bruce Chapman, a former census director who ought to have learned something about demography and perhaps accounting along the way, writes that the Public Doesn’t Know the Truth About Social Security:
…how many Americans (may we see a poll?) understand that …we really are at point (and past it for the next two years) when spending on Social Security finally exceeds income from Social Security taxes? Can a tax hike and/or benefits reductions be long away? Meanwhile, add this new item to the list of runaway Federal deficit spending.
Yes we can see a poll! This, from 2005, seems to be the latest that’s really on point. In that poll, 28% said that Social Security will not go bankrupt of Congress takes no action. This, by the way, isn’t a totally implausible suggestion. The Social Security Administration bases its actions on very pessimistic demographic models, and even so, their estimate of the time until bankruptcy keeps slipping further away, roughly a year further every couple years. If that keeps up, the demographic bubble of boomers will have moved through the system before the system runs dry, and the system will start taking in more than it pays out again.
Of those who thought it would eventually go bankrupt, well over half (59%) thought it would last more than 20 years. Since the Social Security Administration tends to think it’s more like 30 years, we can safely assume that Mr. Burns Bruce Chapman won’t have to worry about it. He worries that tax hikes or benefit cuts can’t “be long away,” but 30 years seems like a long time to me. Turns out that on this, like so many things, the American public is smarter than Bruce Chapman.
Chapman continues this clueless theme in a post about the coup in Honduras, in which he states “Why the U.S. is playing along with Zelaya and his far left cronies is a mystery.” Actually, it isn’t. A quick check with Google, or familiarity with the newspaper of record, would answer the question. As the Times reported 3 months ago, Rare Hemisphere Unity in Assailing Honduran Coup:
the Supreme Court of Honduras said that the military had acted in accordance with the Constitution to remove Mr. Zelaya.
But such legalistic arguments failed to dissuade governments from condemning the coup, particularly in countries like Chile, Argentina and Brazil, where bitter memories linger over human rights abuses by military officials that toppled civilian rulers in the 1960s and 1970s.
“The notion of military involvement in such an ouster is an anathema in much of the region,” said Peter Hakim, president of the Inter-American Dialogue, a policy group in Washington that focuses on Latin America.
Condemnations of the coup quickly united governments as ideologically disparate as Havana’s Communist rulers and conservative Colombia, a close ally of the United States. “It is a legal obligation to defend democracy in Honduras,” said Augusto Ramírez Ocampo, a former foreign minister of Colombia.
In other words, this is not about support for the policies of Zelaya’s government, but support for democracy as an institution, and opposition to military dictatorship. Wouldn’t it be ironic** if Chapman previously wrung his hands in fear over even the chance that courts would enlist a nation’s military to oust a democratically elected government? And if he wrote: “If courts depose the current, democratically elected government–with the military standing behind the courts– [the nation] will be damaged in its international dealings, its economy, its democracy (certainly) and in other ways that can’t even be calculated yet.”
Yeah, that’d be hilarious.
**Note that I first tried to do a simple “gotcha” by finding Disco. generally supporting democracy, or endorsing democracy-promotion in its work on Russia or through its Technology and Democracy Program. Alas, a search for “democracy” didn’t turn up results that actually endorse democracy from either of those Discovery Institute projects, and I had to simply rely on the fact that Chapman decried an identical situation when it might hurt his best buddies: pro-ID Turkish Islamists who tried to ban alcohol and take control of the higher education system by firing established administrators and replacing them with flunkies.