McCain on Social Security

This is a kind of perfect storm of John McCain economic policymaking, a lethal combination of bad ideas and total lack of comprehension:

On Social Security, the Arizona senator says he still backs a system of private retirement accounts that President Bush pushed unsuccessfully, and disowned details of a Social Security proposal on his campaign Web site.

What's at issue here is whether McCain wants to just cut Social Security benefits or combine cuts with a stab at privatization. Neither is, in my view, a good idea at all. It's conceivable that at some future point reductions in the benefits growth rate will be necessary, but then again that might not happen. The responsible course of action for the short-term is to focus on the portions of the government balance sheet that face actual short-term budgetary problems rather than hypothetical long-term ones. That'll mean a tax reform aimed at increasing efficiency and simplicity but also revenue levels, and it'll mean rejecting McCain's costly imperial conception of American foreign policy.