Wednesday, February 17, 2010

They're Back

I am once again surprised to find that the most intelligent and responsible columns in the Los Angeles Times inevitably can be found in the Business Section. As a Liberal, I just never thought that would be the case, but Michael Hiltzgig has finally convinced me.

His subject today is the latest move by the GOP to gut Social Security for the benefit of his buddies on Wall Street:

Like a zombie tromping through a Hollywood gorefest, the idea of privatizing Social Security still walks among us.

The last promoter of the idea that people should personally invest their Social Security assets in the stock market was President George W. Bush, in 2001. With the dot-com crash still ringing in people's memories, the idea died in 2005.

The market hasn't yet recovered from its most recent crash, but the monster unaccountably is back on its feet. This time it comes dressed up as part of the "Roadmap for America’s Future" recently unfurled by Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), the ranking GOP member of the House Budget Committee.

The Roadmap is a retort to the charge that the Republican Party contributes no ideas to the national debate on fiscal issues, only "no" votes in Congress. It's a road map to the dismantling of federal social programs under the guise of making them fiscally sound, while cutting taxes for the rich. (The plan eliminates taxes on capital gains, interest and dividends.)

Social Security comes in for particular abuse. Ryan states that "Social Security's shrinking value and fragile condition pose a serious problem. . . . To maintain the program's significant role as a part of the retirement security safety net, Social Security's mission must be fulfilled . . . without bankrupting future workers."

One doesn't want to be picky about an elected congressman's words, but with all due respect, these words are pure bilge. They come straight from the talking points of Social Security's historical enemies: conservatives who have never believed that the government should play such an important role in people's retirement planning, and mutual fund and insurance companies that hanker for the business generated by millions of Americans looking for a profitable place to park their retirement assets.

Amen, brother! Social Security is probably the only government program that continues to take in more than it pays out. It's role in post retirement plans, thanks to Rep. Ryan's buddies and their profligate ways which lead to the current economic mess, has increased, rather than decreased.

Here are a few of the details for the "new-and-improved" Republican plan:

His privatization scheme would allow workers under 55 to place more than one-third of their current Social Security taxes into personal retirement accounts, with the ultimate goal of shifting most of that money into the stock market. The enticement is that the stock market, over time, yields more than other investment sectors, so future retirees will have a bigger nest egg than they're promised today by Social Security.

Hello? Dot com? The 2008 and 2009 Wall Street meltdown? Does Mr. Ryan have a short memory or does he just assume the rest of us do?

Whatever, the goal is the same one the Republicans had in 2001: the complete dismantling of a social program that has benefited millions of Americans and that millions of other Americans count on. It's not a give-away, it's an insurance plan that we've all paid into.

The Democrats, with a little help from the rest of us need to kick this proposal to the curb and then stomp the life out of it.



Anonymous The Republic of Stupidity said...

Does Mr. Ryan have a short memory or does he just assume the rest of us do?


I'm voting for: Doesn't give a damn.

Ryan is busy currying favors w/ the Big Boys... he could give a snap about the people who would get reamed out by this over the long run.

Wall Streeters prolly have psychic orgasms when they think about all the new money they'd have access to if this came to pass.

7:05 AM  
Blogger sharonsj said...

I want to know why the media isn't carrying on about the latest Repub assault on Social Security? I bet if the teabaggers knew, they would not be happy.

9:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The teabaggers won't notice, they don't read, they only watch TV.

10:01 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home