Conservative big ideas

The Post ran a somewhat non-nonsensical story yesterday about the new generation of “big ideas” (i.e., “innovative and controversial”) in the Republican party.  Meet the new big ideas, same as the old big ideas.   And they are: privatize social security; cut taxes and flatten the rate structure; PSA’s for marriage.  Okay, I may be selling these a little short, but world-changing ideas they are not.  I won’t even bother with Social Security one.  And, yes, the government should encourage marriage.  The evidence is pretty incontrovertible that it’s a good thing.  No argument here (or from anybody relying on social science data), but I have to admit to skepticism towards government programs to “strengthen marriage” and pro-marriage marketing campaigns.  As for the tax cut, I undersold this a little, because the proposal is targeted in an interesting way– huge per-child tax credits.  Works for me :-).  Actually, I found the rationale somewhat interesting:

He says that parents invest thousands of dollars in raising members of society who eventually fund programs such as Social Security and Medicare, but retirees who chose not to raise children get the same old-age benefits as those who did.

“Once a country adopts an old-age pension system, it creates an implicit bias against raising children,” Stein said. “One of the natural reasons for raising children is not just because you like kids, but to take care of yourself in old age. Once a country gives everybody access to everyone else’s kids’ money, it undermines the natural economic
incentive to raise kids.”

Does that mean if we privatize social security we’ll have more kids.  Maybe I’m really unusual, and I’m not a big fan of argument by anecdote, but I have a hard time to believing that many people at all actually make decisions on whether to have children or not based upon the existence of government-supported pension systems.  “Hey honey, I really think three kids is enough.”  “No, without a reliable old-age pension system, we better have four!”  Sill, I had never thought about the idea of other people “free-riding” off the fact that I’ve had 3 kids in their child-less old age.  On the other hand, when it comes to public education and environmental degradation, my family is surely free-riding off the child-less.

Anyway, I’m not at all impressed by these “innovative” ideas from the Republican party.  I’d hate to see their tired ideas (just kidding, we already do).

Bureaucracy of the day

The N&O ran a story today about a number of pools being closed for failure to comply with a new law that their drains actually be safe.  Pool drain accidents are pretty rare, but when they happen, they can be devastating.  Hopefully, these new and improved drains should really cut down on that.  On a more frivolous note, I just loved the NC agency in charge of overseeing these matters:

Across the state, “it will certainly be in the hundreds of pools that get closed,” said Jim Hayes, head of the pools, tattoos and state institutions branch of the N.C. Division of Environmental Health.

Pools and tattoos– gotta love it.

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