Friday, February 18, 2005

Speaking of Suckitude, How 'Bout That Greenspan? 

Why aren't more people livid that Alan Greenspan, in his testimony before congress, endorsed private accounts? Okay, it was a tepid endorsement. Yes, he admitted that private accounts wouldn't necessarily solve the so-called crises of SS, and he expressed concerns about the transitional costs, although he radically understated what they would be. The hard fact remains that Alan Greenspan has no business, ethically speaking, taking any position but that SS should be kept as it was originally designed to be, a universal Federal insurance program that guarantees workers won't live in dire poverty after retirement, and that survivors of workers who die during their productive years will be taken care of, and that any tweaking required to get SS past the retirement of the baby boomers should do nothing to change the essential nature of the program. Where does Alan Greenspan get off endorsing a plan that is meant to dismantle that system, and please, let us face this, that is what this President is talking about, difficult as it is to tellt, because of his penchent for talking similtaneously out of both sides of his mouth and various other of his bodily orifices.

Alan Greenspan promised Americans that the stunning rise in payroll taxes that was inacted in 1983 was sufficient to deal with the coming problem of the retirement of the baby boomers. All of us have been paying more into the SS Trust Fund than has been going out ever since, but the Fund is still in trouble. And the reason has nothing to do with the ratio of workers to retirees compared with the ratio in 1935, nothing to do with anything except the fact that the last three Republican presidents, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, and George W. Bush have spent this country into penury. Bill Clinton got a handle on the problem, but the surpluses which Gore would have used to make sure SS got "fixed," is gone, up in the smoke and mirror of the Bush tax cuts.

Was Alan Greenspan lying in 1983. Did he make a mistake? Is he lying now? Or is he still just making a mistake? And why is he getting away with not having to confront any of these questions?

Please, don't leave a lot of comments blaming the Democrats. They share in some of the blame. But we're to blame too. There has never been a time when the Democratic Party feels more of a need to be responsive to its grassroots than it does now. Why can't we get sufficiently organized to generate phone calls, emails and letters to our various representatives and to the party apparatus to make sure that they are as knowledgeble about SS as we've become. Note please that many of our Senators and Representatives are knowledgable. And none of them are as dumb as most of the people in the mainstream press, who seem incapable of discussing SS for more than two minutes without making the most bizarre misstatements.

Why, when Atrios can generate comment threads three or four hundred comments long, Kevin Drum, ones almost as long, and it isn't that unusual to see fifty and sixty coments on posts all over the place in blogtopia, can we not use that strength to get ideas into the mainstream media, either directly, or through the Democratic Party? If half of those people would make a call a day, and get ten other people they know to do the same, then we'd see some action.

I know this has become a hobby horse, and that I'm in danger of becoming an old-fashioned bore on this subject, but we knew Greenspan would be testifying this week, why weren't we prepared to contact Democrats who would be questioning him to insist that they ask him about 1983, and about why that grand compromise to save Social Security, which all of us still pay for every paycheck, didn't seem to work out?

Why has the whole question of whether or not Bush is really talking about the US government defaulting on the debt in Treasury Bonds held by the SS Trust Fund, as implied in his constant citation of 2018 as a crucial year when SS bill be broke not made its way into mainstream media? When I break the news to those of my friends who don't read blogs, they can scarce believe what Josh Marshall and Matthew Yglesias are telling them. Yeah, it'll be broke all right, because Bush and Co will have managed to break it by then.

Where is MoveOn when we need them, and their member lists? They were great at getting people to call congress in the runup to the Iraq invasion. I understand that it's easier when there is a vote pending, but damn, are we not going to do any organizing around saving Social Security until there's a pending vote on a plan. Because that's going to be way too late.

It is such an outrage that Greenspan can turn his back on a fix he trumpeted, that all of us have been paying for these last twenty plus years, and nothing gets said, no one even seems to notice. Hey, if anyone is allowed to divert their SS contribution into a private account, then I want all the extra money I've been paying into SS back, damnit, with that three percent interest, too.

One person who notices everything about this debate is Bob Somerby, Mr. Daily Howler. Take a look at what he's been working on the last two weeks, or the last two months, and you'll see some of the problem. Now can we start a discussion about what we do about it? Click here, and then go to Bob's archives for 2005 and keep on clicking. Truly, no one understand the political ins and outs of the SS debate as well as Mr. Somerby. Keep on reading until you get angry enough to help all of us figure out what to do about all the bull that's being spread around, prepratory to burying SS as we've come to know and love it.

corrente SBL - New Location
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The Washington Chestnut
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