Thursday, April 28, 2005


Meanwhile, in the real world...

While I'm self-indulgently goofing around with jokes about cyber-game capitalism, Mr. Bozzo at Marginal Utility intrepidly continues to respond to Bush administration BS in support of its Social Security privatization caper. The conclusion:
Shockingly, high earners will tend to benefit from the alternative [privatized] plans, according to a 1999 GAO analysis.
I've noticed that some have my readers have kind of glossed over irony lately, so let me be sure to point out that Bozzo was speaking tongue in cheak -- as in, "I am shocked, SHOCKED that their is favoritism toward the wealthy in this Administration!"

You must stay informed about this issue until the privatization dragon is slain!


I just saw the transcript of this evening's press conference, and was amazed to see Bush call the Treasury bonds in the trust fund "empty promises" while privatized account holders could hold nice, safe Treasury bonds in their accounts as "real assets, real money."

Against this pixie dust approach, I wonder what the proper dragon-slaying method is.

Meanwhile, I have been working on a comment on your cyber-capitalism adventures...
Giving people options for their future is just so evil. They're voluntary accounts, if you don't want one, you don't have to use one. Furthermore, they would only be available to those born after 1950 - thus, old geezers would not have to face this dragon anyway.

Pres. Bush also proposed cutting the amount of money given to rich people through Social Security and increasing the amount given to poor seniors, which is a great idea - yet, still more No, No, No from the Dems - the party who Nos.

Tom even attacks investments in Treasury Bonds!

The dragon that needs to be slayed is the immobile blob that the Democratic Party has become. I want there to be a strong Dem. Party to compete with Repugs and keep their agenda in check, but good luck.
Bryan: as I noted in an update to my latest Social Security post, the "enhancement" for the poor appears to be to let them keep current-law benefits. (Details at the linked Washington Monthly post.)

Meanwhile, if you think I'm attacking investments in Treasury bonds, you're either not reading me carefully, don't understand the outlines of the Bush plan/non-plan, or both.
Tom, to your second point an all of the above answer might be appropriate.

When a person owns treasury bonds, they are real assets - paper money, but still real. As far as the "empty promises" comment goes, I agree with you that Bush is incorrect in that the Trust Fund must be repaid by taxpayers given that an uncontrolled gov't has been harvesting it for years. And as far as I know, no one is talking about not repaying the trust fund.

The enhancement for the poor is to let them keep current-law benefits - that's fine with me, but cutting the amount of money that richer old people get seems like an excellent solution that will help shore up SS and the Trust Fund.
The problem, Bryan, is a misapprehension about the nature of Social Security. It is *not* an old-age welfare program, although this proposed means-test would make it one.

It's a social insurance program. It allows people in their middle age to take risks. It keeps the middle class from having to choose between providing very costly care to their aging parents or watching those parents starve. It lets them send their kids to college.

The plan Bush proposed is to maintain benefits for the poor and slash benefits for the middle class and the rich. Besides the way this would train-wreck the middle class, it converts the program into an unpopular welfare program, allowing Republicans to complete their 60-year project to end the most successful Democratic social program ever.
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