There are two spins you’re guaranteed to hear from the left every election, and this year is no exception. They sound plausible to the casual voter, but can be rejected easily with some critical thinking.
The first one is all too familiar: “[Insert Republican] wants to cut Grandma’s social security…” The pundit or campaign ad usually references an alleged risky scheme to privative the system or cut benefits, closing with “[insert Democrat] will protect our seniors and Social Security.” True conservatives want to reform Social Security for those who haven’t retired yet, but I’ve never heard a Republican run on cutting benefits for existing recipients.
This type of argument—properly interpreted—should be good for conservatives. The Social Security system is headed for bankruptcy, and the few on the left who actually acknowledge the problem either want to raise the income limit (i.e., tax moderate and high income earners), invoke means testing (i.e., cut payments to moderate and high income earners), or give amnesty to millions of illegals to make them instant contributors. The first two proposals are just more wealth redistribution, and the last one merely kicks the problem down the road. As low income earners, the newly minted Americans would contribute substantially less to the system than existing taxpayers. While this money could be used to pay retirees in the short run, it won’t be long before we have a face a larger problem. If the liberal position on Social Security is redistribute more wealth, invoke amnesty, or simply do nothing, then the conservatives should win this issue easily.
The second spin takes many forms but goes something like this: “The U.S. is current facing [insert economic challenge], but Congress is unwilling to act due to partisan bickering…. [Democrat] favors [insert new or expanded federal program] while [Republican] wants to do nothing and protect the special interests…” This is a classic intellectual sleight of hand. Conservatives don’t reject new and expanded government intervention into the economy because of partisan bickering, but because it doesn’t work. This is a more subtle message to uniformed voters because the mainstream media has conditioned most Americans to accept Keynesian logic, and taking some kind action seems to be the right thing to do when you have a problem.
The first spin can be debunked in a minute or two. But if a coworker falls for the second one, it might take a couple of meetings at the water cooler or a thorough discussion over lunch to set the record straight (for starters, ask him why the $787 billion stimulus didn’t work). Fortunately we still have some time. Believe it or not, the polls tell us that there are many undecided voters still out there. We can win them over one at a time.