Wednesday, January 05, 2005

"Taxing the Unborn" 

If Democrats repeat "taxing the unborn" ad nauseum, they will win the Social Security debate. I'm serious. It's that strong. Dems should take a page from the Bush playbook and simply repeat the same catchy bullets every time they talk about an issue. And folks, this is an A-10 tankiller of a phrase (intellectually ugly but brutally effective); assuming, of course, that Dems have the audacity to continually repeat it-- sincerely and convincingly-- as frothing rightwingers go apenuts. There are plenty who could not pull this off, but I'm convinced it would work.

Congratulations to PGL at Angry Bear and Poppy at Patridiots for crafting the winning phrase. All you need is one of those for each issue. In fact, we've seen how some of them (such as "It's Your Money") can perform double and triple duty. The key is that the phrase must use words with emotional triggers, so that the debate is framed for the audience in a hopelessly one-sided fashion. Think Rovian: Don't debate, control the debate.

But what if a young, true-believer isn't satisfied with mere phrases, and actually wants to understand an issue like Social Security?


Although it's highly unnecessary in today's political world, here are some clear, brief statements and graphs that might help in an honest SS debate, should you find one. I've even listed them with selected rhetorical highlights:

Josh: "Almost the entirety of President Bush's Social Security phase-out plan comes down to a simple proposition: finding out how not to pay it back.... Across the board, it's just one big scam. The guy who's the biggest threat to Social Security says he wants to 'save' it by abolishing the program and replacing it with private accounts."

Angry Bear: displays two revealing GAO graphs. Read all of AB's posts on the topic.

Maxspeak: "What we have here, under the guise of an exercise in fiscal rationalization, is contraction of social insurance for the sake of public sector shrinkage, enabling a perverse, regressive redistribution of income."

Tiny Revolution: Jonathan explains it three ways to Sunday. You can choose your own level of difficulty. In a second post, he can't help himself:

"I admire the Bush-ites because they're trying to pull off the greatest heist in world history. And not under cover of night, but in broad daylight. If they manage it, they will be the greatest thieves who've ever lived. So on a moral level they're hideous. But I do enjoy their moxie."

I say: Why not fight moxie with moxie?
Update: I forgot about Michael's fine SS post at 2millionth web log from yesterday, which usefully distills Professor Krugman's work, and links to an invaluable .pdf file. As always, Michael concludes with a sweet money quote:

"I look at Team Bush and see not just a closetful of lies, but a pervasive tendency to ignore the truth that is literally supersized. You simply can't trust serial prevaricators like this administration--where every public statement is through the looking glass. Trust them on Social Security? If you do, I've got some weapons of mass destruction I'd like to have you take--by force, if necessary."
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