Monday, February 07, 2005

Social Security Privatization and the Permanent Republican Majority

Now that Bush has revealed more details of his Social Security privatization scheme, I must say I’m relieved to see how lame it is. This turkey could pass only if the D’s efforts to stop it reach a Kerryesque level of incompetence. Which is quite possible, of course: I never thought the Medicare drug benefit could make it all the way into law still containing that idiotic “donut,” which shows what I know. But with the government managing the investment funds, with the clawback of anything below a 3% return, and with those mandatory annuities, and with even the Bushies now admitting it won’t help the long-term stability of Social Security, even the gamblers with visions of stock market windfalls won’t find this very attractive. One can only hope Bush expends lots and lots of his “capital” trying to push this turd uphill.

So what was it about? Like tax cuts, Social Security privatization was fundamentally about “starving the beast,” circumscribing the powers of government. Connect pensions to the stock market, and any attempt to regulate pollution, raise the minimum wage, tax corporations, prevent them sending jobs oversees, etc etc etc would be denounced as threatening granny’s private personal retirement account. Almost every aspect of a progressive agenda would be measured against the Dow Jones and found wanting. The R’s would be practically assured of a permanent majority.

So maybe just as well the plan stinks up the joint.

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