Monday, March 22, 2010

Republicans Still Pushing Social Security Privatization

For all the noise that Republicans make about the health care bill that just passed, the truth of the matter is that today's Republican leaders care far more about their rich friends than they do ordinary Americans. Oh sure, at election time Republicans like to drive around for a few minutes in an old pickup during a political rally. Of course a half hour after the rally, they go back to their Mercedes a few blocks away and head home. Then these Republicans get on the phone with their rich friends and ask what they can do for them before the bushels of money arrive.

The problem is that rich Republican donors are not only getting more conservative themselves but a pile of money now comes in from rich folks like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh who multiply their effect by having their legions of listeners stuff envelopes with enough money for a politician to stay in business for years, in or out of office. Hey, look how much Sarah Palin is making these days now that she's no longer governor of Alaska.

Republican politicians on the airwaves are very good at stirring up fears and making lots of irrelevant noise, but they have swung so far to the right that they're now a bit fuzzy on reality. It's amazing that they're still trying to peddle social security privatization. In Hawaii, here's a story about Charles Djou, a GOP candidate:
...he said that President Bush had the right idea by addressing Social Security, and said the concept of voluntary personal accounts “deserves examination,” but wasn’t willing to say he supported a specific plan because he said that Democrats would take him out of context and attack him for wanting to destroy Social Security.

Uh, Republicans want to destroy social security but don't want Americans to think that's what they're doing. Gotta love that logic.

Paul Krugman is always worth reading since he easily and quickly cuts through a lot of Republican flim flam. Economists like Krugman deal in real numbers as opposed to fictional numbers written down on a cocktail napkin (this actually happened during the Reagan years). The word 'privatization' is a public relations nightmare and Republicans are doing their best to sell the same privatization idea while using language that's warm and fuzzy and fraudulent. Here's what Krugman says about Rep. Paul Ryan who likes attention and loves playing with numbers and words for the Republican cause:
...Ryan’s claim that diverting a substantial share of payroll taxes receipts into individual accounts does not constitute partial privatization of Social Security [has a bit of] history here.

Back when the Cato Institute first began pushing for individual Social Security accounts, it called its push, well, The Project on Social Security Privatization. As the Bush administration got ready to make its privatization push, however, it became clear that “privatization” polled badly. So the project was renamed The Project on Social Security Choice. And Republicans began bristling at any suggestions that they were proposing privatization, calling that a slander. Really.

Wait, it gets better. Cato engaged in Orwellian tactics — deleting the term “privatization” from older web posts and even from records of old conferences. But they were sloppy; there were traces of the true history throughout. I don’t know if they’re still continuing the practice.

In any case, Ryan’s attempt to deny that what his own movement used to call privatization is, in fact, privatization should settle the question of his sincerity.

Right wing politicians are always sincere, until they're caught making things up. But then there's another route when doing politics. Act confused. Former moderate Republican Chuck Grassley had this to say about social security privatization:
(Caller) LONA: Senator Grassley, I am a Democrat who has voted for you many times. I appreciate your service to our state. I want to know if you still support privatizing Social Security?

SENATOR GRASSLEY: I was never in favor of privatizing Social Security, but I was in favor of giving people a choice. People could, uh, could, uh, under what we are talking about, although it never got into a bill, so I can’t, you can’t, you can’t tell me, you aren’t telling me, I mean I just want to say generically that I introduced a bill to do any of this stuff that I am telling you, but we were trying to negotiate in 2005 where people could stay in traditional Medicare, not Medicare, Social Security as it has always been, continue down that road, or they could take 1 percentage point, 2 percentage points of the taxes they pay in and they could have the government put that in a separate account for them, say like the federal employees do with their 401ks, for example. But the federal government would manage it. When you use the word privatize, it means that we would not have the government running Social Security and we wouldn’t have Social Security, I have never been for that.

Got that? But it still sounds like a giveaway to stockbrokers on Wall Street. If privatization had been passed by Republicans in 2005, America would have lost its shirt in 2008.

The more I read about today's Republican leaders, the more obvious it is that Americans need to send more Democrats to Washington. Republicans need to reform their party, push out the lunatic right and start advocating real solutions. Until then, the Republican Party is not fit to lead.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's this character "Craig" who also writes...amazing stuff...where'd he go?

Forget the blugh; more poetry.

12:10 AM  

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