Save the Frog

Posted: Jun 28, 2005 12:00 AM
There’s an old tale which says that if you take a frog and throw him in a pot of hot, boiling water the frog will jump out. But if you take the frog and put him in a pot of cold water, and gradually turn up the heat, little by little over a long period of time, the frog’s body will adjust to the incremental increases of heat and eventually boil to death.

The U.S. economy is like a frog in a pot of boiling water and he can’t jump out to save himself. One of his legs is the oversized tax code, and the other leg is the dysfunctional Social Security system. Congress has slowly turned up the heat on the tax code and Social Security through countless incremental adjustments ever since 1913 and 1935, respectively, when these two programs were enacted.

While the president and many others have proposed solutions to strengthen Social Security long-term with optional personal retirement accounts, the Democrats in Congress have simply insisted that there is no crisis and that the frog is in no danger. To make matters worse, the liberal media writers and reporters have already started concluding to the public that optional personal retirement accounts are dead in the water.

If the public allows this self-fulfilling political prophesy to persist, then the Social Security leg of our economic infrastructure will continue to deteriorate. A one-legged frog can’t jump very far. Unless Congress acts soon the frog, our economy, will be dead in the water.

The politics of obstruction are slowly killing our economic future, while countries like China and India are closing the economic gap. Even though some of our nation’s best economic and intellectual minds have repeatedly endorsed the optional personal retirement accounts concept, the Democrats in Congress are content to do nothing. Even though the evidence is overwhelming that personal retirement accounts work, the Democrats and a few misinformed Republicans want to wait until we are forced to raise taxes and reduce benefits in order to save grandma’s Social Security check. That’s not a solution. That’s irresponsible.

No matter how much the president has talked about the facts and the evidence, the Democrats in Congress have offered no solution, and there has been no thunderous challenge from the media. If the media had been as frenzied about the Democrat’s obstructionism as they were about the “runaway bride,” the public would be better informed, rather than being confused and misled.

In fact, a June 13 report by the Media Research Center found that, “Social Security coverage on the five major networks has been overwhelmingly against personal accounts by a margin of 2 to 1. Four of the five gave more air time to the liberal position (against) than to explaining economic realities.”

The economic reality of doing nothing is economic destruction. The only question is when.

Similarly, I predict that the Democrats will use the same “do-nothing” attack against changing the obese tax code when the President’s Tax Panel issues its report. No matter what the Tax Panel recommends, the Democrats will make their usual cries of, “it’s a tax cut for the rich.” That’s Democratic code again for “let’s keep the economic frog in hot water and turn up the heat for the good of the Party and the next election.”

The Democrats in Congress try to create the perception that they are the political party that best represents the poor. There is some truth to that claim. They want everybody to be poor when they retire in the future by doing nothing today.

The combination of do-nothing Democrats and a divided Republican majority is a losing combination for the American public. Our economy is now back on solid ground and growing steadily since it was rocked by the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. The economy’s resiliency is a testament to the optimism and pride Americans have shown in their nation since the attacks. But resiliency, optimism and pride can’t sustain forever the effects of an insolvent Social Security system and a tax code which robs hard-working Americans of their dreams.

We have a unique opportunity in this presidential term to save America’s economic future by restructuring the Social Security system and replacing the out-of-date tax code. Congress has turned up the heat on our economic frog’s legs long enough. Let’s turn up the heat on Congress and demand that our elected representatives save the frog.