On Being An Idiot Or A Terrible Liar

The New Republic has hit a new low thanks to Jonathan Cohn:

The conservative legal brief against the Affordable Care Act rests heavily on a simple proposition. Government can’t make us obtain private insurance because, as the argument goes, that would be forcing us to buy a private product.

Politically and constitutionally, it may be an effective argument.

Given that we are dealing with a political and constitutional question what else would an argument need to be?

But do the law’s harshest critics, the ones screaming about tyranny, actually believe that? In particular, do they think it’s even scarier than a single-payer, government-run program, as they argue in their briefs and Judge Roger Vinson suggested in his Monday ruling?

Well, thanks for admitting a single-payer system would be scary and tyrannical.

I thought it would be harder to get TNR to admit that. Who knew?

There is more:

I have my doubts. And while I offered some of my reasons yesterday, I left out a big one: Social Security privatization.

You remember privatization, don’t you? The idea was to take Social Security, a mandatory public pension program, and turn it into a system of mandatory personal investment accounts.

There may have been a President Bush who attempted to install mandatory personal investment accounts in a Social Security system, but not in this galaxy.

On Earth (a big blue planet, third one from the Sun…you can’t miss it Mr. Cohn), Bush’s plan was a little different:

In the State of the Union address Wednesday evening, President Bush answered some important questions about his plans for Social Security reform and the creation of individual investment accounts. Many issues remain unclear, however.

Here are some of the topics Bush addressed and some further details from a fact sheet on his proposal.

Would reform affect everyone? The president has said all along that any reform would not affect the benefits of current and near retirees. On Wednesday, he specified that benefits of anyone age 55 and older will not be changed.

Who could open an investment account? The accounts are voluntary. But participation would be phased in over three years according to age. In the first year — 2009 — workers born from 1950 to 1965 could open accounts. In the second year, workers born from 1950 to 1978 could open accounts. In the third year, anyone born after 1950 could opt for an account. [emphasis added]

I wonder what part of the word “voluntary” Mr. Cohn doesn’t understand?

Obviously the entire word is confusing to Mr Cohn (and others according to Memeorandum). But, I’m a sport. I’ll help them out.

Something that is “voluntary” is not “mandatory” and vice-versa.

So, Mr. Cohn has a choice. He can either admit to lying about the voluntary nature of the Bush Social Security reform efforts, or he can admit he’s not sure what the word “mandatory” means.

(Cross posted at The Iconic Midwest)

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