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Greider at The Nation on how they are "reforming" Social Security without saying it out loud. [View All]

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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-21-10 05:06 PM
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Greider at The Nation on how they are "reforming" Social Security without saying it out loud.
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There was an article in 1997 at the FAIR blog. It was called Here We Go Again. Can Social Security Survive Another "Rescue"

It is a point well made.

The rescue of Social Security has been a staple of American journalism for 20 years nowa story all the more remarkable in that Social Security has never been in peril except from its rescuers.

The rescues have all been based on faulty arithmetic. First, in 1977, the rescuers humbly confessed that they had made a mistake in adjusting benefits to inflation, as a result of which Social Security was threatening to go broke. (They never say the Army is threatening to "go broke," only that it needs more money to do the job that it's asked to do.) Not to worry. Amid the Yuletide hosannas of our massed punditry, our leaders found the courage to enact a correction that would, they swore, assure solvency into the 21st Century.

..."A bipartisan commission under Alan Greenspan went to work on the numbers, while the media developed an unprecedented campaign of vilification of the elderly. On magazine covers, in cartoons and columns and on broadcast commentaries innumerable, they were depicted as hogs, vampires, sharks, gorillas and card sharps scooping up the sustenance of the young. While the investment banker Peter G. Peterson led the media legions, Greenspan fabricated a hurricane warning. Multiplying one false assumption by another (for example, he assumed that the C.P.I. would rise nearly three times as fast as it actually did rise, while his private firm was forecasting an even smaller increase), he predicted that Social Security would go bankrupt in 1983.

The scare headlines permitted Congress in early 1983 to enact a bill acclaimed in headlines as a great rescue. In addition to the previously scheduled cut of 20 percent in benefits for new retirees, it clipped six months of cost-of-living adjustment from all then and future beneficiaries, raised payroll taxes further and postponed the retirement age from 65 to 67 in phases to begin in 2002.

The solvency of Social Security was thus assured for 75 more years. The euphoria was such that when some new retirees learned that their benefits were taking a double hit and complained, they suffered the righteous wrath of the massed media. They were called "Greedy Geezers": "Avaricious," "spiteful" people who would snatch food from babies a media image of America's elderly that persists to this day.

Ain't it amazing? Peterson's propaganda is still being catapulted even today. From The Nation article in the June 7 issue by William Greider.

Whacking Old Folks

In setting up his National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, Barack Obama is again playing coy in public, but his intentions are widely understood among Washington insiders. The president intends to offer Social Security as a sacrificial lamb to entice conservative deficit hawks into a grand bipartisan compromise in which Democrats agree to cut Social Security benefits for future retirees while Republicans accede to significant tax increases to reduce government red ink.

..."The president has stacked the deck to encourage this strategy. The eighteen-member commission is top-heavy with fiscal conservatives and hostile right-wingers who yearn to dismantle the retirement program. The Republican co-chair, former Senator Alan Simpson, is especially nasty; he likes to get laughs by ridiculing wheezy old folks. Democratic co-chair Erskine Bowles and staff director Bruce Reed secretly negotiated a partial privatization of Social Security with Newt Gingrich back when they served in the Clinton White House, but the deal blew up with Clinton's sex scandal. Monica Lewinsky saved the system.

Here is more from Greider's article.

What's extraordinary about this assault on Social Security is that a Democratic president is leading it. Obama is arm in arm with GOP conservatives like Wall Street billionaire Pete Peterson, who for decades has demonized Social Security as a grave threat to the Republic and has spread some $12 million among economists, think tanks, foundations and assorted front groups to sell his case. If Obama pulls the deal off, this will be his version of "Nixon goes to China"a leader proving his manhood by going against his party's convictions. Even if he fails, the president will get some protective cover on the deficit issue. After all, he is targeting Big Government's most beloved and trusted programthe New Deal's most prominent pillar.

Obama's initiative rests on two falsehoods spread by Peterson's propagandathe notion that Social Security somehow contributes to the swollen federal deficits and that cutting benefits will address this problem. Obama and his advisers do not say this in so many words, but their rhetoric implies that Social Security is a big source of the deficit problem. Major media promote the same falsehoods. Here is what the media don't tell you: Social Security has accumulated a massive surplus$2.5 trillion now, rising to $4.3 trillion by 2023. This vast wealth was collected over many years from workers under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) to pay in advance for baby boom retirements. The money will cover all benefits until the 2040sunless Congress double-crosses workers by changing the rules. This nest egg does not belong to the government; it belongs to the people who paid for it. FICA is not a tax but involuntary savings.

He warns us to fight. I doubt we will fight over this any more than people are fighting to keep this administration from privatizing education. It is being done right before our eyes, yet even at Democratic forums there is no outrage, just denial.

Citizens can win this fight if they mobilize smartly. We can do this by arousing public alarm right now, while members of Congress face a treacherous election and before Obama can work out his deal. Some liberal groups are discussing a "take the pledge" campaign that demands senators and representatives sign commitments to keep Hands Off Social Security Benefits. If politicians refuse to sign, put them on the target list for November. Barack Obama is standing on the third rail of politicslet's give him a warning jolt.

Speaking of asking congress to take a pledge, Will Marshall of the DLC and the PPI once wrote a little article about liberals who did that...he said they were "camp meeting converts swearing off demon rum".

Will Marshall attacks the Social Security Pledge

It is from 2002.

Like camp meeting converts swearing off demon rum, nearly every Democratic candidate for Congress dutifully took the Pledge. They vowed to never, ever allow working Americans to divert some portion of their Social Security payroll taxes into personal retirement accounts. In leftish circles, this goes by the name of "privatization" and is regarded as the ultimate political thought crime.

..."The pledge is the brainchild of the Campaign for America's Future, a union-backed organization that is to Social Security and Medicare what the Inquisition was to medieval Christiandom. Its latter-day Torquemadas enforce New Deal-Great Society orthodoxy and ferret out heresy with religious zeal.

There is an long article at Alternet about the members of the Debt Commission and their agendas.

Greider was right in the article is packed with those who will turn the future of Social Security over to private companies.

Many younger people don't have a clue about what Social Security and Medicare actually are, and how many people depend on them.

I suggest that they learn very quickly, and I suggest they fight back against such plans. Ask yourself how well you can financially take care of your parents or grandparents if such social nets are allowed to fail.

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