Frankly, Scarlett, I don’t give a …

Cowboy Libertarian blogger Patrick Dorinson pens an essay on how government operates on the Scarlett O’Hara Theory of Government:

Our current crop of politicians operates according to the Scarlett O’Hara Theory of Government based on the main character in Margaret Mitchell’s 1938 classic “Gone with the Wind”.

 Its main tenet was expressed neatly by Scarlett at the end of the movie when she said, “I’ll think about that tomorrow because after all tomorrow is another day!”

 Meanwhile, the bills keep piling up, the debt is left untouched and the train wreck of the unfunded liabilities of Social Security and Medicare grow worse by the day.

Lisa Vorderbrueggen

  • christine Rubin

    My dear boy:
    Scarlett chased utopia (Ashley) whom she thought really existed, ignored the true strength (Melanie) whom she thought was weak and “mealy mouthed” and the only man who saw truth was one who was on both sides of the law and looked after himself (Rhett) Scarlett was a product of a life was never to rise again. Do you thi
    nk I KNOW GGWTW?

  • John W.

    “…the unfunded liabilities of Social Security…”

    There are no unfunded liabilities of Social Security. By law, Social Security is neither obligated nor permitted to pay more in benefits than can be funded from payroll taxes, including redemption of Treasury bonds in the trust fund — currently about $2.5 Trillion, expected to grow again to $4 Trillion when the economy recovers. If nothing is done, the Trust Fund will eventually be depleted (projected to be about 2036), and payroll taxes are estimated to then be enough to sustain benefits at about 77% of currently scheduled benefits. Even at 77%, the dollar amount of those future benefits will be greater than current benefits. So, this is not “going bankrupt.” In that case, the benefits schedule will have to be recalibrated in some fashion to be in alignment with payroll tax funds. Social Security will have to be cut. It’s just a question of how. All the so-called alternatives to cutting benefits are themselves “cuts.” Raising the age is a cut, because people would collect for fewer years. Slowing down cost of living increases is a cut. Means testing is a cut on somebody. Lifting the cap on the payroll tax is a cut for those who would have to pay the extra tax, because they would be getting back less in relationship to the amount they pay in. It is possible the government will choose to write off some or all of the Trust Fund (which would be legal) in order to reduce the national debt. That just means benefits would have to be recalibrated sooner rather than later.

    By the way, everything stated above is also true of Medicare Part A — the hospital coverage portion of Medicare. Future payroll taxes will be sufficient to cover about 80% of Part A benefits at the current level. So, they will need to charge premiums to those who can pay, increase deductibles and co-pays, prioritize what Medicare will or won’t cover, or some combination of these. The real problems are Medicare Part B (doctor services), which are 75% paid by the general fund, and Part D (prescription drugs), also paid through the general fund — because Bush passed Part D with no way to pay for it, so that he could nail down Florida for his 2004 re-election and start down the GOP wet dream path of privatization with Medicare Advantage.