Thursday, September 23, 2004

Bush's "mandate": When they say it's not about the money, it's about the money 

Acting President Rove clues us in on what Bush will consider His mandate to be, if He takes office a second time:

White House political adviser Karl Rove said President Bush, if re-elected, will claim a legislative mandate to institute personal Social Security accounts, to simplify and reform the tax code and to extend No Child Left Behind standards into high school.

When you hear a Republican use the word "reform," put your hand on your wallet.

Although the election debate has been dominated by foreign policy and national security, Mr. Rove told editors and reporters of The Washington Times at a luncheon yesterday that the president also will claim a mandate to move on domestic issues.

Weird. Bush didn't run on that platform. But now He's going to claim a mandate? Oh, I forgot. That's what He did the last time He won took office.

Mr. Rove yesterday said the administration won't produce specific policy for changing Social Security during this campaign, but it's clear what Mr. Bush wants and, if he wins, he will consider that a mandate to move forward.
(via The Moonie Paper)

Since we already know that "tax reform" means that only people who work for paychecks will get taxed, and we already know that Bush didn't bother to fund No Child Left Behind, let's look at Social Security. After all, giving up my guaranteed retirement check so that those fine upstanding people in the financial industry (back) can rake off a commission—I mean, where do I sign up?

And here I want to go back to a post that I wrote on July 4, 2003, back when we were all over at Atrios (see The Constitution, Corporatism, and "Loot, Repeat") It's based on an article by Nick Confessore, which you should also read (see "Welcome to the Machine") The "Loot, repeat" piece even has a handy chart!

The "Loot, repeat" concept has two simple points:

(1) With Republicans, when they say it's not about the money, it's about the money.If they say "reform," it's about the money. If they say "values", it's about the money. And especially if they say "freedom," it's about the money. As we'll see in a minute, Social Security is an especially obvious case of this.

(2) With Republicans, there's a method to their madness; their operations have a signature that you can watch out for. Here it is:

(1) Target: Pick an existing government revenue stream
(2) Transmit memes: Focus on the Mighty Wurlitzer on the target
(3) Privatize: Write the legislation "privatizing" the revenue stream
(4) Loot: Steer the privatized service to a wired (Republican) firm, and
(5) Repeat: Take a payoff from the wired firm, as campaign contributions or otherwise. With the payoff money, return to step (1) and pick new targets.
(Quoting "Loot, Repeat"

A simple example is Medicare prescription drugs [step (1)]. It is not an accident that the program is more complicated, more costly, and involves an initial corporate subsidy. That's the result of steps (3) and (4). As for step (5)—no doubt an alert reader can give the figures on the campaign contributions to the Republicans from Big Pharma.

Now, Social Security is the biggest money pot there is [step (1)]. And years of unrelenting winger propaganda and phony projections (back) [step (2)] have made the need for "reform" part of the CW. Never mind that the arithmetic doesn't add up (2-1=4). In fact, the looting [step (4)] has already begun (back); part of the Clinton surplus that Bush pissed away with the reverse Robin Hood move of giving the super-rich tax cuts was built up from ordinary people's pay checks through FICA contributions. Oh, that would be step 5—as the beneficiaries of Bush's largesse have already given the Republicans record contributions to complete his rape of the public purse.

Now, however, in election 2004, Bush is going for it all—all $2 trillion-worth of loot (step 4). (back),

Is it any wonder that his guys are energetic and very well-funded? Is it any wonder that such a big pile of cash draws whores?

So, when Republicans say it isn't about the money, it's about the money.

And when Republicans say "reform," put your hand on your wallet.

Especially with Social Security.

NOTE Readers, this is a complex issue and hard to explain simply. I believe Kerry has to hammer Bush on the war. But I also believe that the fate of Social Security is what this election is all about.

NOTE This post is an attempt at framing a la Lakoff, as written up in crucial post by Kos.

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