I wrote to one of two profs who penned an article on Social Security privatization for an LA Times op-ed. I skimmed it and the final sentence sounded a little bizarre - so re-read it, then again, then the whole article one more time, and eventually I decided that the authors were probably being dishonest - as most Republicans are. Professor Mitchell is supposed to be a democrat, but so is Joementum:
I didn't accuse anyone, but I did ask for an explanation:
Your article in the LA Times ends with this:
To get the ball rolling, we should start by recognizing the costs of doing nothing and the consequences of inaction.
The wording is confusing - possibly misleading. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it would seem that the 'costs of doing nothing' are, in fact, nothing. Right? Or wrong?
If these costs are not nothing, what might they be? And, are these costs different from the 'consequences of inaction'? This final statement certainly makes it seem as if these 'costs' and 'consequences' are different sets of entities.
It seems the sentence might have been more clearly stated, if I correctly understand the intent of the writers, as:
To get the ball rolling, we should start by recognizing the costs of doing nothing and the consequences of [doing nothing].
This new, less-confusing sentence could be said more concisely as:
To get the ball rolling, we should start by recognizing the costs and consequences of doing nothing.
Or even moreso as:
To get the ball rolling, we should start by recognizing the costs of doing nothing.
To get the ball rolling, we should start by recognizing the consequences of doing nothing.
I'm just really confused. With the statement as currently worded, it seems as if you take the view that 'costs' and 'consequences' are only applicable to the option which chooses to not endure the immediate costs of privatizing social security - which would be absurd on its face - but further, it would be contradicted by the preceding line in your article:
Americans need a clear understanding of the situation and the costs and benefits of reform.
This line accurately points out that there are no free lunches - but only one of the options - that of 'doing nothing' - the same as that of 'inaction' - is painted as being costly or as having consequences.
I can only think of three possible reasons for this last sentence's structure:
1) Printing/editing/authoring mistake/oversight;
2) I need to brush up on my reading comprehension skills;
3) or You/co-author deliberately used this rhetorical twist to make a case for privatizing.
I was unable to locate an email address for your co-author.