Monday, January 31, 2005

Intolerent of even moderates 

I read the student paper too, and this letter really hacked me off.

In the article "Professor predicts a 'bumpy ride,'" Chad Eldred tries to predict what the next four years might be like. On one hand, Eldred quotes Professor Greaves who says things may go one way or another depending on how various events play out. On the issue of social security "reform," Eldred chose to speak with Professor Gleisner.

Gleisner clearly stands extremely to the right on this issue, as his remarks about taxation, social security and the deficit indicate. Perhaps Eldred needs to learn a thing or two about balanced coverage. It is extremely irresponsible of the Chronicle to print such a one-sided view of what might be the most important decision to be made in the next four years.

Sarnath Ramnath
Computer Science

Prof. Gleisner works in my department and I consider him a friend as well as a colleague. I don't think of him as an extreme right-winger particularly on fiscal issues, but I did not see his comments in the article online so I had to track them down. Here's what Prof. Ramnath thinks is "extremely to the right" on Social Security.
Another agenda item is the reformation of the Social Security system. President Bush is proposing to privatize the system and Richard Gleisner, an economice professor at SCSU, said that he believes privatizing Social Security is the best option. Gleisner also said that no matter what, the system needs to change.

"Americans are very suspicious of the privatizing of Social Security, but something has to be done with our current program," Gleisner said. "Tax revenues, in the not too distant future, will be insufficient to cover benefits and that will only intensify as the baby boomers retire."

The current deficit has also been a hot topic through the country and Gleisner said that there is really no consensus about how the deficit will affect the economy.

"There is disagreement among economists about what the deficit does to the economy," Gleisner said. "Hoever, there is no evidence that the large deficit is slowing the economy right now, and interest rates are very low despite the deficit." (From the 1/27/05 edition, p. 6, not available online.)

Now I might quibble around the edges of what Dick has been quoted here. And Dick will certainly say that the writer left out many of the caveats in his answers to these questions. (Answering questions about economics to reporters is a bit of an art; few reporters get your analytical points and numbers make their eyes glaze over.) But to characterize those views as extreme right-wing is patently absurd and part of the intolerance with which our Bolshevik faculty treat anything that disagrees with their worldview.

Dick also said,
By 2030, there will be twice as many elderly as there are today, with only two people working for every person drawing Social Security. After 2032, contributions from payroll taxes will only cover 75 cents on the dollar of current benefits. So we must act, and act now, to save Social Security.

Oh wait, sorry. That wasn't Dick. That was Bill Clinton.