Friday, March 11

We must destroy this village to give the appearance of saving it while not actually saving it, and in fact destroying it.

A bunch of friends of mine went down to Fun-gomery yesterday to protest Bush's appearance to campaign for his Social Security privatization plan. Here are the three things I know about this plan:

1. It's going to cost around $2 trillion (and that's just until 2010) to make the transition from the current system to one that includes private accounts.

2. Bush's own people concede that private accounts won't do anything to solve the program's allegedly impending fiscal crisis.

3. In 1978, Bush said Social Security would be bankrupt by . . . 1988.

So we've got a program so mind-blowingly expensive that my grandkids are going to end up paying for it, that won't even solve the problem its creators claimed to intend to solve, which nobody can prove is going to be an actual crisis anyway. Why should I support this again?

I know that, as one of those 20somethings Bush has been trying like hell to bring on board with this fakakta scheme, I'm supposed to be thrilled poopless that I'm finally going to be allowed to divert some of my payroll tax into a private account. Well, guess what: I don't wanna. And if I did wanna, I'd just put more money into the mutual funds I've already got, instead of shoveling it into some government-controlled account that's barely going to give me anything more than what plain ol' Social Security already does.

The really dumb thing is that, while the Republicans claim to have no specific plan about how they're going to do all this privatizin', they have no problem whatsoever assailing the Democrats for not coming up with a plan of their own. To me this is like if I go to the doctor complaining of a minor headache, and he says, "Looks like our only option is to amputate your leg." And when I ask just what the hell amputating my leg has to do with a headache, he gets all huffy and replies, "Oh, are you a doctor? I suppose you have a better idea?"

It's all academic, at any rate, because it doesn't matter what the Democrats do -- they could come up with a plan that ensures Social Security's solvency until the Second Coming, increases benefits 50 percent for every recipient, requires not a penny in additional tax increases and buys a pony for every American child under the age of 16 and the Republicans would still stomp it into the ground simply because they can't afford to let the Dems steal a victory away from Bush on any issue whatsoever. So, in the end, all they can afford to do at this point is campaign against the Bush plan/non-plan. Under some circumstances, I'd feel really frustrated about that, but when the plan/non-plan is this cockamamie and ill-conceived, I can learn to live with it.


Anonymous said...

Since you admit that you know little about the SS system, here are a few other facts that you might want to consider:
- SS is racially biased against blacks. Their shorter lifespan, especially black males, means they will not live to enjoy the benefits of their lifelong contributions. White women gain the most.
- SS defeats any generational wealth development possibilities. No accumulated benefits may be passed on to your progeny.
- Today's SS is not FDR's SS. In the beginning SS was not to exceed 1% of your income, or taxed. All that changed thanks to the dems.
- Chile's SS system was based on our system and they bit the bullet and made changes to save their system - including private accounts. Likewise, Sweden.
- Galveston County Texas employees opted out of SS and their retirees now receive benefit checks larger than their last paychecks!

Astronaut Mike Dexter said...

One at a time:

> Wow. I didn't know the Bush privatization plan would prolong the lives of African-American males. I may have to rethink my opposition.

> As I understand it, Bush's privatization plan doesn't allow for accumulated benefits to be passed on to one's heirs, either.

> "All that changed thanks to the Dems"? Social Security wouldn't exist if not for the Dems, and I hardly think a phase-out is the way to make it better.

> Chile's wonderful changes have resulted in at least half of the country's workers getting no retirement whatsoever.

> Whoopee for Galveston County.

Anonymous said...

Read a bit more of that report by Cato Institute on private accounts for Galveston, etc. and you realize that yes, they opt out of SS but all they are providing is still a pension program similar to that which many big corporations provide, which usually do outperform SS. HMMMJOB exaggerates what the workers receive (they are getting payout on an annuity they buy from their funds invested in five predefined options). It is equivalent to a full salary if you work/save for 40 years. But then, comparison to SS is comparing apples to oranges - SS is not just a pension, but so much more - supplemental insurance, disability, etc. Higher income wager earners subsidize lower (lower earners, around 30k/y, get about 70% of their income after a full work life; higher earners, 65k, get 26%.) - it is somewhat of a welfare state, and in many ways, this is desirable. Taking money from SS for private pension investments does not solve SS's problems!

Anonymous said...

- Just ask a Galveston County retiree if they would rather be on SS. No exaggeration that some employees' benefit checks are larger than their last paycheck.
- So a Dem started SS and other Dems bastardized it? I'll buy that.
- Any Chilean that paid in gets a return.
- Private accounts are a part of the beneficiaries estate and can be passed on. Not so with SS.
- A welfare state is OK? Income distribution is OK? I guess communism is OK to the hmmmer. The only thing good about it is that it makes capitalism look that much better.