Saturday, March 12, 2005

No Compromise

Jonathan Chait has an excellent article over at The New Republic with an insightful look at the “deeply disingenuous” effort by the conservative right via Bush and company to destroy Social Security. The article is well worth the read.
What it boils down to is that not only is Social Security a retirement program it is an insurance program that protects everyone from being left destitute should they become disabled and unable to work or suffer radical decrease in income. It spreads the risks of life across the whole society and in turn provides a safety net for the entire society. They key point, however, is that the truth of the whole discussion is that this is really not about Social Security and whether private accounts are a worthwhile adjunct but an ideological battle over what the conservatives see as an unwarranted government intrusion into private business.
The hard right Republicans know that this complete control over all three branches of government will not last. This is their best chance to destroy Social Security or at minimum get the wedges in to start the process.
Everyone needs to recognize that there are ways to privately augment their income during retirement via IRA’s and 401Ks, etc. but that they are subject to the whims of the market nd income. It is also true that the lowest income members of our society don’t have a spare nickel to invest in a Roth and that the current Social Security program is their only hope. Take it away and they will wind up, at some point, both destitute and homeless, a burden on their family or society or just die a slow and miserable death in some way.
I also know that it is only my current earning capability that is allowing me to sock away a little extra and that these earnings could disappear tomorrow either through my employer going bust or by simply becoming disabled. Private accounts are not going to address this if Social Security goes away. There will be no “income of last resort” as is represented by Social Security today. I am pretty sure I won’t have to live on Social Security alone but there are millions that will and are.
There is talk on the left of compromise and alternative proposals. This is a very large mistake as it does not recognize that this is not about how to “save” social security but how to destroy it. Compromise on this issue by the left is a recipe for disaster because nothing will get enacted and signed by Bush that doesn’t meet the goal of setting the stage for the destruction of Social Security. Compromise on this issue is consigning millions of middle and low income to a future of destitution. Plain and simple. The Republicans are trying and succeeding, with the help of the MSM, to keep the argument away from the stark truth that the goal of this administration is to destroy the program and they will not be happy until they do. Chait’s article goes into much greater detail and I hope it gets as much distribution and discussion as possible.

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