Bush Has a Brooklyn Bridge to Sell

| | Comments (0)

President Bush's touting of a Social Security Crisis has been somewhat successful in deceiving a majority of the public. According to the Washington Post Americans accept the crisis by about 74%. (Why Bush's touting a crisis is a deception is discussed in the article entitled, Bush Selling S.S. Same as Iraq War). The Washington Post however states the public is not entirely sold on his stock market options. So, Reuters reports the President and conservative groups are going to launch a media blitz selling campaign.

The Washington Post reports:

The president also has at least general support from 53 percent of the public for the concept of letting people control some of their contributions to invest in the market.

It is on the specifics that Bush faces problems. Support dropped to an even split when people were told that the cost of the transition to a new program could reach $2 trillion over time, as some forecasts project. And 62 percent said they would not participate in such a program if it meant their retirement income would go up or down depending on the performance of their stock picks -- which is the essence of Bush's plan.

And herein lies the essential rub between Bush's plan to privatize up to 1/3 of the Social Security Program's revenues and public expectations. Under the current system, if you paid in you were guaranteed Soc. Sec. checks would be there by the Federal Government. Under Bush's plan, there are no guarantees to be obtained by playing the stock, bond, or treasury markets.

The President's media blitz sales campaign for privatizing Soc. Sec. is an absolutely necessary step toward pulling of his revamping of the program, since, opposition by the AARP, a host of consumer advocate groups, Democrats, and even a fair number of Republican Congress persons is a safe bet. But, with the bully pulpit and a lead in the media in touting his plan, one has to ask if opposition is going to appear as fearfully reactionary or just plain anti-Bush? Opposition has to convince the American public of two facts if they hope to nail Bush privatization plan in its coffin. First, they must convince the public that there is no present tense-crisis save for the one privatizing will cause by punching up to a 2 trillion dollar hole in the near term federal budgets. Second, they must extol and sell the public on the merits of saving the system through a combination of 1) means testing benefits and 2) raising or eliminating income caps on deductions.

The hard and realistic number crunching for both Bush's plan and saving the current system via the options listed above, has not been done yet, or at least, not publicized. The number crunching, despite media blitzes and opposition hyperbole should be the American people's deciding factor. They already know they want some guarantee that if they pay in, the money will be there when they need it. The question is which plan can they afford to pay for today and for the rest of their working lives, and which will most likely produce when withdrawal time comes? This is likely to be the overshadowing issue and debate of 2005, leaving the escalating costs of Iraq, the diminishing federal discretionary budgets, and deepening American debt in the background, to be dealt with another year, or four.

The President is going to try to sell the American people on a retirement investment plan to replace the Social Security Insurance plan which currently exists. He won’t put it that way. Because insurance implies a guarantee of payout, while the investment markets offer no guarantee whatsoever. If the American people want a guarantee for their payroll deductions, they ought to look very closely at the Brooklyn Bridge the President is trying to sell. Specifically who owns it.

The authors of the President’s Social Security reform plan are the banking, investment, and asset management companies and corporations who bankrolled his reelection, as well as conservatives of a libertarian bent who believe people should not be helping other people through the government. It would be wise of the American people not to forget the boondoggle of a Medicare Bill the pharmaceutical corporations authored for the American people. That Medicare Bill passed last year denied the public competitive bidding to lower the cost of Rx drugs under the plan, which in turn increased both current deficits and future payroll taxes to pay for them. And don’t forget the donut hole in the Medicare Prescription drug plan which was icing on the cake for the Pharmaceutical companies. They knew Congress wouldn’t get reelected if the price tag of the bill got too high. So through the Whitehouse, they low balled what it would cost to get it passed, and then gouged the elderly directly from their pocketbooks via the donut hole in the coverage.

The President’s Brooklyn Bridge Social Security reform plan has very similar authors. The American people should be very, very leery of buying this bridge, because once bought, the sale cannot be revoked, and Social Security as an insurance plan against a low wage working life, or economic downturns will no longer exist.

Leave a comment


Type the characters you see in the picture above.

Contact

Monthly Archives

Powered by Movable Type 4.25

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on December 23, 2004 9:09 AM.

Bush Selling S.S. Same as Iraq War was the previous entry in this blog.

Masterful PR to Save Rumsfeld is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.



Offsite Links