Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus -- no conservative she -- took on hack economist Paul Krugman last week over his repeated claims that the demographic train wreck facing Social Security does not exist. Marcus juxtaposed Krugman's concerns of years past with his dismissive and demogogic language of the present that anyone (Barack Obama particularly) saying Social Security is in trouble is a scaremonger.
Krugman responded on his blog that Social Security future is much brighter today, in 2007, than it was in 1996 and quoted his hero,
Karl Marx John Maynard Keynes.
John Maynard Keynes is supposed to have said, “When circumstances change, I change my opinion. What do you do?”
Circumstances have changed -- for the worse -- and Krugman's much more positive about the whole thing now. In 1996, the tipping point was in 2012 -- 16 years away. In 2007, the tipping point has been pushed back to 2017 -- 10 years away. Yes, things are better now. /sarcasm
Krugman isn't worried about the demographics of Social Security -- which originally had about 16 workers supporting each retiree, now has three and change and will soon be two workers per retiree -- because productivity growth will solve the problem.
The economist in Krugman can't believe that. Fortunately for us, the economist in Krugman has been chained up in the basement and fed nothing but particle board and muddy water since Bush took office.
We're coming up on the three year anniversary of the Krugman promise. In his Jan. 4, 2005 column, Krugman decried President Bush's partial privatization plan and promised a plan to save Social Security. A couple months later, with no plan forthcoming, I started a little movement to try and get Krugman to outline his plan. I updated that graphic for nearly nine months -- and then Krugman went and hid behind the TimesSelect pay wall without giving us a plan.
And today he still hasn't, nearly three years later.
Krugman isn't telling the truth about Social Security. That would require him to set aside his blind partisanship and criticize the Democratic Party which has stuck its head in the sand on this issue. Criticizing Democrats is one thing Krugman has never done (unless they're Joe Lieberman).
Krugman is a hack. No ifs, ands or buts.
For a primer on Social Security, check out this March 2002 post on why there is no lockbox.