- Mar 3, 2005
Anybody following the Social Security discourse?
Privatizing Social Security
by Harry C. Kiely
How many times can President Bush get away with crying wolf? First came the "weapons of mass destruction." Congress believed him and committed our nation to a tragic war in Iraq , based on lies and deception. Then there were the massive tax cuts for the rich, guaranteed to get the economy going again. The result? The budget surplus was traded in for a giant deficit to be passed on to our grandchildren.
With Social Security, the president is at it again. The whole system is moving into crash mode, he says, so we need to take radical steps to rescue it. (Question: Why did the president wait until after the big tax cuts to go into panic about Social Security?)
If we pay attention to our common life, we know that if a lie is repeated often enough, it becomes the accepted wisdom. Such has been the case with Social Security. For 20 years, the Wall Street investment industry has been disseminating reports about the imminent shortfall of Social Security when the baby boomers start retiring. So pervasive has been this disinformation campaign that reporters for the mainstream media treat it as common knowledge. Today, many workers under age 40 believe Social Security will not be there for them when they retire.
Why Wall Street's sudden interest in ordinary people, including the millions who have been kept out of poverty through Social Security support for seven decades? The answer is simple: profit. Servicing the accounts made possible by partial privatization would net the investment firms many billions of dollars.
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