I came across this colorful image on an academic blog I read regularly called vitia.org and it got me thinking about a couple of other social security things:
- Bush and his evil minions are playing off the apathy of the youth, and by “youth,” I potentially mean people like me. In other words, they know that people of my generation and younger have this dismissive view of social security (e.g., “it won’t be around when I retire, so who cares?”), and that gives them their opportunity. They’re sneaky bastards, no doubt about it.
- I heard an NPR story the other day, the day after the State of the Union address I think, where they were interviewing some guy in a bar, one of these kind of “man on the street” opinion pieces. This guy was all for privatization of social security because he wanted to get his hands on “my money.” In other words, this guy in the bar was under the impression that if social security were privatized, he would literally have the money he is paying as a tax right now in his pocket, and he could do what he wanted with it.
It strikes me that this is a pretty common misperception about privatization. But the thing is no one is suggesting that. Bush et al have been pretty sneaky in not saying exactly what they’re proposing, but it has been made clear that if the money were to be put aside in a “personal” account, it would still be invested fairly conservatively. And I have to think that these guys in the bar who want “their money” aren’t going to be happy to hear about that.
- Among other things I think I’ve learned in the talk about Social Security lately is that it isn’t in “crisis” in the sense of total collapse; privatization does nothing to eliminate this “crisis;” and privatization will cost a shitload of money. So, why is Bush so for this?
I suppose there really is a philosophical difference of opinion here. Bush says he wants the U.S. to move to an “ownership” society, which, I suppose you could argue, is the way it used to be when only white land owners had any power, and when they pretty much “owned” their women and when they literally owned their slaves.
But I think there’s something else going on here, though to be honest, I don’t know what. Whenever a politician proposes a big and expensive plan, I think it’s always a good idea to try to follow the money. So, who would financially benefit from this kind of plan? I don’t really know, but I would assume this plan would benefit people who are in the finance business: stockbrokers, investment bankers, financial planners, etc. That’s probably a pretty solid Republican block. I don’t know how exactly, but maybe it will benefit people above a certain earning bracket, the kind of person who doesn’t need Social Security in the first place.
Like I said, I don’t really know. But I am beginning to think there’s something about this proposal that the Bushies know that the rest of us don’t know. Yet.