- Reason Awakes -

The New Independent Party Blog

This Blog is maintained by Mike Barron, Executive Director and Founder of the New Independent Party. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the Party, its Board of Governors or its Members.

To post a comment just click on the "comments" link just after the date of the original post.

Comments on the blog have to be moderated before they will appear.  The reason for this is the tendency for those with extreme opinions to attempt to force out other voices by intimidation. I apologize for this format and I will attempt to review comments as quickly as possible. All respectful comments, regardless of political orientation, will be published.

If you are reluctant to include your email address when posting a comment, just put xxx@yyy in the blank. Your email address will not be published if you choose to include it.

If you would like to start an entirely new thread on the blog, just post it as a comment to the most recent blog post.  Alternatively, you can post a comment on the post set up for starting new discussions. I will establish it as a new thread. Don't forget to tell me what you would like to title the thread. 

Comments on Mitch Daniels reply to the State of the Union

It may seem to some that I am favoring the Republicans in the last few Blogs. That appears to be the case, because the Romney Plan, the State of the Union, and Mitch Daniels' response were overwhelmingly about US fiscal and economic policy.

Foreign policy is not a hotly contested issue in the US at the moment and I think most everyone is glad to see American troops returning from Iraq and the elimination of Al Queda's leadership.

I will be addressing Santorum in a Blog in the near future and I will not sound like an apologist for the Republicans when I do.

Back to Mitch Daniels.

I think my most negative reaction to Daniels was over his plan for means testing Social Security and Medicare.

Social Security its already means tested in terms of the formula for determining benefits which favors low income people. You could accomplish the objective of making the system more progressive (assuming that is what he wants to do ) much more simply by just leaning into that formula a bit and by raising the cap on the Social Security tax. Implementing a true "means test" tied to post retirement income and assets would be an administrative nightmare.

I think, but am not sure, that Daniels promotes the concept of means testing because he thinks the alternative is raising the income cap on the tax.

The theory of the income cap on Social Security is that folks who have income higher than the cap should save and invest for their retirements to supplement the Social Security benefits with enough to allow them to sustain their pre-retirement life styles into retirement. Eliminating the cap completely as some on the left would do changes a government mandated retirement income program, with a social welfare program inside of it, into a full fledged social welfare program. I think popular support for Social Security has always been tied to the, partly fictional, notion that it is the former rather than the latter.

I think that the New Independent Party's plan for protecting Social Security by gradually raising the retirement age makes a lot more sense than either means testing or raising the cap. In addition, it is completely consistent with the original intent of the program given increased life expectancies.

In the case of Medicare, I gather Daniels favors a voucher system similar to the one mentioned in our Platform. What I think his proposal misses by tacking on a means test is the opportunity to use the voucher approach more generally as a way of getting health care coverage available universally without exclusions for pre-existing conditions and without an individual mandate.

Add a Comment

(Enter the numbers shown in the above image)