As Tanner writes:

Finally, there is a reason why economists make lousy politicians. Democrats are already making it clear that they will not accept any benefit cuts, even in the absence of personal accounts. They will argue that all we need do is raise taxes on the rich and Social Security will be fine “for decades to come.” That leaves Republicans to argue either the Biggs approach (we need to slash benefits — eat your spinach) or the Tanner approach (we will cut benefits, but give you personal accounts as a reward — eat your spinach, but you get ice cream for desert).

I like spinach. But even if you don’t, it’s an interesting, informative exchange.

Holly Yeager is CJR's Peterson Fellow, covering fiscal and economic policy. She is based in Washington and reachable at