Wonky Muse
Wonky Muse

February 5, 2005

The Real Agenda

The question that no one has answered to my satisfaction: how can diverting money from the traditional pension system -- which eliminates risk -- to private accounts --which are vulnerable to market risk -- "strengthen and save" Social Security?

The answer comes from the LA Times:

In a significant shift in his rationale for the accounts, Bush dropped his claim that they would help solve Social Security's fiscal problems — a link he sometimes made during last year's presidential campaign. Instead, he said the individual accounts were desirable because they would be "a better deal," providing workers what he said would be a higher rate of return and "greater security in retirement."

A Bush aide, briefing reporters on the condition of anonymity, was more explicit, saying that the individual accounts would do nothing to solve the system's long-term financial problems.
The real agenda emerges. Privatization is not intended as a fix, it's intended to siphon off funds away from Social Security.

Oh, but there's more. From the AP:

The subcommittee's current chairman, GOP Rep. James McCrery of Louisiana, said taking money out of the existing Social Security system for private accounts gives a powerful argument to the plan's opponents, including the 35 million-member AARP, which represents older Americans.

"The AARP and the Democrats think if you divert some money from the trust fund,'' the existing program will be undermined, McCrery said. "That is true on its face. It does decrease the level of the trust fund. Politically, that's going to be a very strong tool that (opponents) can use to defeat aplan.''

So, not only is privatization not intended to rescue Social Security from a "crisis", it's intended to weaken it. Weaken it so it's eventually destroyed.

The heart of the issue here is not methodological, it's ideological. Conservatives who believe in the "each man for himself" society never believed in the Social Security system. They see the system as an impediment and a burden that taxpayers are better off without, so why would they try to save it, must less "strenghten" it?

The country can have a meaningful discourse about the merits of a social retirement program versus private retirement accounts if they would candidly admit this, but they won't because it's political suicide to do so.

posted at 6:08 PM by Wonky Muse

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"Sapere Aude."
(Dare to Know)
-- Epistularum Liber Primus, Horace

Wonk (noun): def. A political nerd. Know spelled backwards.

Wonky Muse is the other Filipino American female political blogger. The sane, liberal one.


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