Thursday, December 16, 2004

Fool Me...Um...Won't Get Fooled Again

Side note: Here's how Team Bush spelled "Challenges" on a backdrop for the dauphin's latest attempt at public elocution:

Financial Challanges for Today and Tomorrow.

Great...of course, those who like their Kool Aid with a red state flavor will wail about how hard it is to spell "big wurds and stuff." After all, it's pretty easy to humiliate yourself in all sorts of ways--besides not bothering to proofread.

So, the man who brought us 25,000 liters of anthrax now says there's a crisis in Social Security. Henchmen like Grover Norquist want to do some strangling, well, for the fun of it, I guess. Cooler heads might argue that you don't burn the house down when all that needs fixing is a broken window, but c'mon, it's not like Bush et al ever REALLY had to do some "hard work." Besides, I'm sure they think "fire is cool." Look what they did to Iraq...

Which makes me think--how long before we see Bush accusing the Social Security Administration of "seeking to purchase uranium...from Africa." Maybe Colin Powell can reprise his UN disgrace speech and show us some neato satellite pics of SSA "chemical weapons factories." Dick Cheney can show up on Rush Limpball's show to make gutteral references to "500 tons of nerve agent"...and the lapdog press can embed themselves with cellphone cameras, then, in hushed tones with low-res video, tell us how they're "just outside of a Social Security office...but I can't tell you exactly where..."

OK, so it won't be quite that ridiculous...I hope. But if the debate becomes "do we kill it now or do we kill it later," well, let's just say that that'll be as sure a sign as any that this country is doing it's best to become king of the third world nations. I mean, jeez--old age pensions are a basic component of modern society, and Social Security is about as good as you can get--there's remarkably little overhead in administration, it's investment strategy is completely sound, if a little boring, and it's not such a bad idea to, in a sense, socialize part of the federal deficit via SSA's purchase of US debt. It sure beats the hell out of China holding it. The "crisis" Bush talks about is nonsense. The adjustments needed to ensure stability to Social Security are the financial equivalent of a tune up or mid-course correction.

Bush's "plan," on the other hand, is more grounded in fantasy than his Kumbaya vision for democracy in the Middle East (and is it just me, or have others noticed that quite often Bush, when doing "the vision thing," sounds like nothing else so much as an aging hippie who combined a little too much Old Crow with his acid?).

This country might be just crazy enough to purchase the rusting hulk of a jalopy that Bush calls his plan, but if I have any say, I'd demand some real answers. Like: can Bush's plan GUARANTEE the same level of benefits that Social Security can EVEN IF THE WORST SSA scenario plays out? Can Bush guarantee that he won't pull money from the existing program to pay for the plan (well, actually he can, sort of: right now Bush is proposing to BORROW the money--just like how he's paying for the Iraq war, although China might not be able to loan us a trillion and a half dollars)?

Bush's plan requires a level of market growth far above and beyond that required by the existing system, and the investment instruments are a hell of a lot riskier. And, as for how the plan might work out, well, there's already a pretty good example of what Bush considers successful and/or acceptable:


Say no more.

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