Friday, January 14, 2005

Social Security Questions from JBuchanan and Adriana

JBuchanan asked: "I do have a question for you concerning the SS issue, and I hope the answer isn't obvious for everyone but me. What is the incentive for Bush and his Neo-Cons for the privitization of SS? Is it simply to push those funds into the private sector? Or is it just a stupid and agressive solution? I guess I feel that guy doesn't really do much unless it benefits the interests of himself and his friends."

My answer: The neocons and even many more traditional conservatives are philosophically biased towards putting funds into the private sector. Social Security is the most successful public good program the US has ever had. It's an example of how government can work well. Conservatives hate that notion because they hate government. The first shots were fired a long time ago, when Social Security was labelled an "entitlement" rather than what it really is: society fulfilling its obligation to individuals who have worked for decades and paid taxes and now want to retire.

One other motivation might be market manipulation. Adding social security money to the stock and bond markets will, at least temporarily, boost stock and bond prices and that will make their general economic approach seem like its working.

And, of course, somebody will have to manage the money once it reaches the market and somebody will have to perform all of the transactions and Wall Street firms don't do that for free, so, as with any privatization program, there are fat cats ready to get fatter.

Then Adriana asked:

"What do we do about it, that what I want to know? Is this something that will come to a vote, or are we already screwed?"

We are not screwed. Bush hasn't even formally proposed a plan yet. And, changing Social Security will have to be done through victories in the House and Senate. Sure, the Republicans have majorities in both, but remember -- Bush will never run for office again. The Republicans in the Senate and House will. Social Security used to be called "the third rail" of American politics, you touch it at your peril. has been creating lists of Senators and congresspeople who oppose Social Security privatization (he calls them the Conscience Coalition) and those who support it (he calls them the Faint-hearted Faction.) People are crossing party lines. Joe Lieberman, for example, is taking Bush's side. There are plenty of Republicans against him, though. As Princess Leia said to Han Solo, "It's not over yet."


At 9:44 AM , Blogger adriana said...

she also said "will someone please get this walking carpet out of my way?"...and that rings true here, too. somehow.

lieberman is such a fakey fakity fake. i don't understand why he calls himself democrat. more like dorkocrat.


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