Friday, February 18, 2011


Yeah, it's a bad idea. Social Security is one of those government programs that actually works and works well. But the right has done their usual brilliant job of framing arguments and establishing terms so that most people seem to be forgetting that.

Remember when Gore ran for president and won? One of the reasons he didn't win more decisively (which would have made it harder for an elite group of rightwingers to contradict the will of the people, and also would have prevented the financial debacle we're in because there wouldn't have an an Iraq war or a giant tax cut for the wealthiest among us) was because he was always being ridiculed as too stiff.

One of the devices used to point out Gore's less charismatic presence than Clinton's (or Bush junior for rightwingers, though I never got it, Karl Rove actually said the first time he met Bush Junior he felt like he was meeting James Dean!) was to make fun of his campaign speeches including his passion about the need for a "lockbox" for Social Security.

There was a skit on Saturday Night Live making fun of the "lock box" and a lot of comics used that very unpoetic, unromantic, almost geeky term to make fun of Gore at the time. But it was a genuinely great idea, of course. To make it illegal for the Congress to raid Social Security surpluses to fund their projects and make it look like it wasn't costing anything or costing less.

But Social Security is still solvent, even with all the raiding that went on, unfortunately by both parties, though the right tried to do it more because ideologically they are against Social Security because it is an open admission that not everybody, no matter how hard they work, makes enough to put away money for when they can no longer work. The right, and too many of the "independent" voting young, seem to think that retirement should be a meritocracy combined with an aristocracy.

Those wealthy enough to have comfortable retirements because they inherited money or got away with banking deals that either were illegal or should be, etc. and those smart enough and from a well enough off background to get a good higher education and get into the right fields (mostly finances, banks, etc.) to be able to put away something for retirement deserve their lot and those not fortunate or lucky enough to do so don't.

It's like these people forgot one of the basic concepts of all religions that I know of, to take care of the widows and orphans, the poor and the old. But it doesn't matter, because thankfully under FDR and the Democrats, Social Security has saved our country from descending into the depths of despair and poverty we used to see in so-called "developing countries" where there was no government help for those in need, including the old.

And it was, and is, fair, for the most part, in that people pay into it all their work lives, and what they end up with isn't enough to live on, that's for sure, but can mean the difference between eating catfood or real food. It would be fairer if it taxed the richest more (as it is now the cutoff for taxing wealth for Social Security is ridiculously low).

But by turning the word "entitlement" into something that makes it sound more like poor old folks are actually wealthy scions of oil wealth families who get into Yale no matter what their grades or how much trouble they get into or what drunken fools they might be and run for president on a record of failing as a business man, as an adult (last "DUI" at forty?), etc. That's "entitlement."

Here's a terrific articulation of why the right's (and some in the center's) argument against Social Security is based on the usual lies distortions, deliberate misconceptions and propaganda. read it to the end.

1 comment:

JIm said...

The premise of your comments and the article is wrong. Conservatives do not hate social security. Conservatives hate bankruptcy. Social Security and the nation is approaching bankruptcy. We as a nation can make changes now on our terms or we can ignore the problem and follow an Obama budget which expands spending, borrowing, debt and debt service. If we refuse to reorganize entitlement and spending our creditors (China etc.) and or the bond vigilantes will force us to restructure a la' Greece and Ireland.

To have good intentions is not good enough. The sisters of Our Lady of Sorrow use to tell us that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. That well sums up Obamanomics and Democrat party.