Thursday, June 23, 2005

Social Security: Republicans doing St. Vitus Dance

It is serious stuff, of course, but the latest from Team Snafu is pretty goddamned funny. Let's review the history of the 2005 assault on Social Security, which has stopped looking like a Mac Sennett film and started to look like St. Vitus' dance:

1. The Sky is Falling -- the aerial bombardment that preceded the ground assault was the insistance that Social Security was in Big Trouble -- the first goal was to try to convince us that the program was in such danger that something simply had to be done to save it. An essential part of that doomsday scenario was the assertion that the trust fund -- the roughly $1.5 trillion we have been prepaying against the coming rainy day -- was a myth.

2. Only Privatization Will Save Us -- despite the failure of the opening gambit to convince most folks of the problem, Maximum Leader then rolled out his panacea, insisting that only privatization would save us from a "flat bust, bankrupt" Social Security system.

3. Privatization is at least Part of the Solution -- in the face of consensus that privatization would in fact make the problem worse, the Bush shills retreated to claiming that private accounts could at least be "an important part of any solution," walking quickly past the obvious fact privatization is so fiscally poisonous that that any plan that included private accounts could be made more effective by excluding them.

And, finally, when even Congressional Repugs would have nothing of it:

4. Screw Solvency, Gimme Privatization NOW! -- The latest Ponzification to come out of Republican Fredonia turns all that has come before on its head. Solvency of Social Security is no longer within a country mile of the discussion. And the mythical, don't-count-on-it trust fund? Now it is the funding source for the private accounts.

Dean Baker, co-director for the liberal Center for Economic and Policy Research, said Republicans were essentially arguing that private accounts were the only way to force them to stop spending Social Security money. "If I were a Republican, I'm not sure I'd want to make that argument," Baker said.

McCrery also conceded that contributions to the accounts would end in 2017 unless a special board he envisions devised a way to continue funding them.

Jason Furman, a private account foe at the liberal Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, said contributions would dwindle to just $40 in the last year before the surplus ends. He also said the cost of administering the accounts would overwhelm any benefit.

So, to review:

1. We are faced with dire problem X;
2. I offer solution Y.
3.OK, so problem X won't actually be solved by Y, but we can do Y and still solve X.
4. OK, OK, OK. Forget about solving X, let's just do Y for the hell of it.

Makes perfect sense to me.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You forgot:

5. Y will make a lot of money for my friends and me.

5:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can name that tune in one!

10:56 AM  

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