Harry Reid promises a government-run option, defends Social Security

Speaking to the NetRoots Nation this weekend, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) made a commitment to the left to pursue a government-run option, which was left out of the version of ObamaCare passed this spring.

Philip Klein has the story:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, seeking to console liberal activists who were disappointed by the final version of the national health care law, assured them that there would eventually be a public option.

“We’re going to have a public option,” Reid said. “It’s just a question of when.”

Reid’s general comments reflected the same overall message to progressives that President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered earlier today. It essentially boils down to: We’ve done a lot of stuff, but we still have a lot of unfinished business, so campaign for us again.

During a question and answer session, Reid also argued against “fear tactics of those who say Social Security is going broke. It’s not.”

This is part of a strategy I described earlier this week, with Democrats renewing the spectre of Social Security cuts to use as an issue against Republicans.

“Social Security is the most successful social program in the history of the world,” he said.

Klein’s full write-up of the push for the government-run health care option can be read here.

The notion that Social Security is successful is absurd. It’s every crazier to say that Social Security is not going broke. The program has more than $17 trillion in unfunded liabilities. According to the Social Security trustees’ report, in 2017, the program will payout more than it takes in. In 2039, the Social Security trust fund will be exhausted.

Some would say that increasing the payroll tax or lifting the income cap would bring help. That is, at best, gives the program seven more years of life. Of course, by raising taxes you’re risking economic growth and likely putting jobs at risk.

Of course, if Reid wanted to be honest about Social Security, he would tell us it’s going broke and that the Galveston County model is something Congress should pursue. But, that takes power away from the government, essentially admitting failure, and letting the market flourish.

 


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