Political Animal


April 08, 2012 10:50 AM Gingrich Endorses Mandate…for Retirement Saving

By Matthew Zeitlin

In Politico, Byron Tau has a delicious, concise blog post that consists of two things: Newt Gingrich’s support for the “Chilean model” for retirement saving, and then Tau pointing out that the Chilean model relies on mandating that workers devote a certain portion of their wages to private investments. Gingrich also used to say good things about mandates for health insurance, but more importantly than the opportunistic flip-flopping is that Gingrich’s support for the Chilean model shows how potentially deadly the Republican jihad against the individual mandate could be. In a world where mandates to purchase a private sector good are either unconstitutional or just politically unpalatable, then already existing conservative ideas for reforming the welfare state could then be taken off the table. Also, if conservatives succeed in striking down the individual mandate, it might energize liberals to pursue policies like single payer health care, which are not preemptive compromises with conservatives wary of creating big, new state institutions.

Update: this post has been revised for clarity.


  • bleh on April 08, 2012 11:22 AM:

    Yeah, but the key thing here is PRIVATE investments. This is just another way of turning the gigantic pot of money that is the SS Trust Fund -- which would become much, much larger, since the system would stop being pay-as-you-go -- over to the tender mercies of Wall Street, to skim merrily and line their pockets therewith, and to leave retirees high and dry if ever the market crashed, or (a la MF Global) the firms just stole it.

    These guys will never stop.

  • Basilisc on April 08, 2012 11:54 AM:


    Matthew, I get your point, but I think there's some text missing after the second dash.

  • RepubAnon on April 08, 2012 1:00 PM:

    My guess is that the Supreme Court would uphold a mandate that generated increased profits for Wall Street because stocks are different than broccoli

  • jcricket on April 08, 2012 1:15 PM:

    Gingrich wants money from the Wall Street crowd, maybe his Sugar Daddy is cutting him off and pandering to the deeper pockets of WS is his only hope of living in the manner to which he and his bride are accustomed.

  • Joe Friday on April 08, 2012 1:30 PM:

    What Gingrich fails to mention is the "Chilean model" he admires has been a dismal miserable FAILURE, and the overwhelming majority of Chilean workers want to return to their old system, which is not unlike our current Social Security system.

  • walt on April 08, 2012 1:39 PM:

    The individual mandate was once a conservative trump card. Now it's just another casualty in conservatives' Total Political War. It's sad to think that all the so-called policy ideas that conservatives come up with will eventually crash and burn if it means having to work with a Democratic president. What this means is a party absolutely determined by its overwhelming ideological need, not to make government work but to force government to fail.

  • Michael7843853 on April 08, 2012 1:45 PM:

    So Zeitlin is threatening the right with a push for single payer, something that a liberal is typically for, in an effort to get the right to let Obama have his big victory as an alternative in exchange for a mandatory payroll tax going directly to Wall Street if necessary? There is such a thing as becoming too political. You end up being in the game just to be a player.

  • exlibra on April 08, 2012 2:32 PM:

    What Gingrich fails to mention is the "Chilean model" he admires has been a dismal miserable FAILURE -- Joe Friday, @1:30 PM

    Which is why I always say that it ought to serve as a "model" (aka dire warning) for us, too: it's the perfect example of what NOT to do.

    The "Chilean model" was something that Bush the Lesser and his cohorts were very fond of; op-eds praising it appeared with monotonous frequency in the NYTimes. Even after the fraying around the edges began to show, and even after the whole thing went belly up. I remember being totally flabbergasted then (this was before I started paying much attention to politics), because, from the business pages of the same paper, it was quite evident that the whole boondoggle was working only for the very few. That Gingrich would want to revive it and transplant it here simply shows that he's got too much resurrection on his brain (doubtless, it's the time of year).

  • pattonbt on April 08, 2012 10:09 PM:

    The R's don't care. It's always win-win. They either get a carve out mandate for what they want for privatizing SS (do you think D's would take a case to the Supreme Court countering such a system even if the Supreme Court rebukes them on Obamacare?) or they get death cult cuts to the current system.

    Either way, the plutocrats win (more money in their hands through mandates, or less money going out of their hands to fund social programs). Either way it's a win.

  • RalfW on April 09, 2012 12:54 AM:

    Because conservatives in office or in policy-crafting positions seem to be either myopic or stupid, they seem to have not even gamed out the possibility that the response of 10s of millions of people being told that ACA is void might be to seek a legal and constitutional way to get coverage. And that is likely to be single payer or a massive expansion of Medicare.
    I would love that untended consequence immensely!

  • Yellow Dog on April 09, 2012 8:42 AM:

    Silly Matt. Only things Democrats want are unconstitutional, and only when Democrats want them.

    When repugs want the exact same thing, then it's not just constitutional, it's precisely what the Founders demanded.