Monday, January 17, 2005

A viewpoint on Social Security

For those of us who've accepted the notion that the Social Security system is in crisis and that the baby-boomers will deplete it utterly, I offer you a different point of view.

Social Security, like all government programs, is funded by tax dollars generated by the American economy, right? And the American economy, we're told by the Bushmeister's minions, is percolating just fine, thank you. Well, be that true or no, the fact is, the American economy is not in danger of collapsing. Recessions or inflation, America's economic system rolls inexorably forward and, very likely, will for the foreseeable future — certainly well past the baby-boomer generations' entry into and exit from the Social Security system.

So why the hew and cry from the GOP about "fixing" the Social Security system? Some would say it's a ruse to dismantle the social compact created back in the midst of the Great Depression.

And why would the GOP want to destroy the social compact that has so improved the lot of the nation's retirees; the aged, the old and the tired? Well, isn't it the goal of the GOP to dissolve ALL federally-funded social programs? I've heard the rhetoric about privatizing Social Security for 10 years now, so it's nothing new. Each year the GOp tries to repackage the pitch with a few new phrases and some further fear-based angles, and they continue today — no great surprise. Somewhere, at some point in time, a group of powerful Republicans decided it was time dismantle the Social Security system no matter the consequences to the populace. The principle of their theory is that the federal government should serve the nation on as limited a basis as possible. Basically it means the GOP wants the White House and Congress to deal only with warfare, transportation and federal crimes and, perhaps, international trade.

If the GOP has its way, any federally-funded program not earmarked for one of these few responsibilities will be dissolved. If it can destroy Social Security by convincing the electorate that investment in the private sector will increase their retirement (if they're lucky) than the GOP will have a celebratory day indeed!

The idea is to free up the federal government's money (our money) for uses better suited to advancing the interest of big business — of course, the trickle-down theory will be leaned upon heavily to get this scam by the public. Yea, I said "scam!"

I believe that the Social Security system is solvent and should remain so even beyond 2018 or 2025, for that matter. And so long as the government (the U.S. Congress and White House) has the desire to support the system than it will remain solvent. The money continues to flow into the federal coffers and it's only a matter of determining how to spend it. And who decides that? The answer is obvious so I won't insult you by filling in the blank for you.

So, we have a GOP-controlled Congress and White House and now is the time to strike for the Republicans, if ever there was a time. I remember U.S. Rep. Larry Combest, R-Lubbock, pitching the whole privatization of Social Security bit to a group of local businessmen and the reception was, at best, chilly. But that was 5 years ago and times are changing, and the GOP has seized upon the deepest fears of Americans since 9-11 and, finding that fear can be used to good effect for almost any issue in question, it's using fear to promote this notion of crisis in the Social Security system. In effect, they're creating a crisis from imaginary goblins.

I would suggest that you click on the link below and, with an open mind, check out Bates' article. He raises some very interesting points and cites some very strong sources. The article, I think, may give you food for thought relative to this issue.


Eric Bates' article on Social Security lies?