President Barack Hussein Obama and Willard Mitt Romney debate tonight. I don't mind if Jim Lehrer asks President Obama whether he endorses Vice-President Joe Biden's famous declaration that health care reform is "a big "f---ing deal."
But I really hope Lehrer will ask Romney if he endorses this statement by his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, that Social Security is a collectivist system that we must abolish:
Social Security right now is a collectivist system. It is a welfare transfer systemâ€¦. And so what we have coming now at the beginning of this century is a fightâ€¦. [A]ll they have to do is to stop us from succeeding. Autopilot will get them to where they want to go. It will bring more government, more collectivism, more centralized government if we do not succeed in switching these programs and reforming these programs from what some people call a defined-benefit system to a defined-contribution system--and I am talking about health-care programs as well--from a third-party socialist-based system to an individually-prefunded individually-directed system. We can do this. We are on offense on a lot of these issuesâ€¦ [Rep. Paul Ryan, speech to Ayn Rand Atlas Society, 2005, quoted by Brad DeLong, September 29, 2012].
Take that, you geezerly moochers! As Brad DeLong summarizes Ryan's policy views, "In Paul Ryan's eyes, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Unemployment Insurance, SNAP, etc. are all socialist, collectivist systems that must cease to exist in anything like their present form."
Mr. Romney (and Mr. Romney's backers), do you agree?
Bonus Question: Paul Ryan says the math behind the Romney-Ryan tax plan is just too complicated to explain. Ezra Klein says it's simple arithmeticÂ (and it doesn't add up). Can you explain your math, Mr. Romney? (You may use a calculator.)