27 Mar 2006 Social Security Reform Critics Often Close Eyes to System’s Problems
A typical e-mail of those I received from those who were critics after my March 22 post about the March 16 Social Security vote in the U.S. Senate:
About 80% of the American public trusts the views of the AARP, a percentage higher than the popularity of President Bush and the U.S. Congress combined. The main purpose of the DeMint-Crapo ammendment was to use Social Security trust funds to finance private accounts, and on that basis it deserved to be defeated. Despite the outright lies, half truths, distortions and fear mongering the privatizers propagate to promote the establishment of private accounts and progressive price indexing to “save” Social Security, their true goal is to destroy an efficient and workable social program because it’s incongruent with their reactionary, social Darwinistic political views. The vast majority of the American public, however, does not want a return to our society as it existed in the 1890s and are wise to those who do. They voiced their judgement in 2005 when the attempt by President Bush, Congressional Republicans, and their supporters at reactionary think tanks to privatize Social Security collapsed. When the debate resumes regarding the best solution to Social Security’s future funding shortfall, the public will once again be smart enough to distinguish between arguments which have merit and those which, if you’ll pardon the expression, are full of “Crapo”.
Which is better: A modern government that makes promises it will not keep, or an 1890s government that made no promises at all?
The question however, is rhetorical, as abolishing Social Security (intentionally, anyway) is not under debate. What is under discussion are ways to reform Social Security so it can cover its obligations.
So, I repeat: Social Security is insolvent. Blaming the messenger won’t make it solvent. Furthermore, the sooner we as a nation act to rescue the system, the less difficult the job will be.
Those of you who do not like the right’s suggestions for rescuing Social Security should propose alternative rescue plans. At this stage of the debate, all options remain on the table.
Unfortunately, the favorite option of some seems to be one of closing one’s eyes and hoping the problem will go away. This strategy is (temporarily) politically-convenient, but it puts at risk the income stream of millions of Americans.
As such, moving to repair Social Security — or, at minimum, to emphatically warn Americans not to rely on it — becomes a moral issue as well as a fiscal one.