Monday, January 17, 2005

I've been reading as much as I could get my hands on the past 2 to 3 weeks on the Administration's plans for the Social Security system and I'm shocked at what the mainstream press is writing about the system. It's full of incredible inaccuracies and Administration spin -- all published as "facts".

I've read the Office of Management and Budget July 04 report to Congress and sought out any other information I could get from "independent sources", including Columbia University Journalism School's fact reporting web-site as well as the Media Matters site managed by David Brock the ex-conservative, propagandist of the 90's turned media watch-dog. I'm certain that Social Security is in no more danger of default than at 2 or 3 other times in it's history when a simple "bi-partisan" adjustment was necessary to correct it's "projected" future solvency.

This has all the feel of the buildup to the war in Iraq. I already feel the country slipping in behind the Bush Administration's multi-million dollar propaganda effort to portray that the Social Security system is in crisis. It absolutely is not.

For philosophical reasons this administration simply wants to gut the biggest, most successful, entitlement in the history of our government because right-wing conservatives are abhorrent to the idea of any government entitlement program. This is not about saving it or making it better it's about ending it.

Conservatives have been loudly claiming the imminent insolvency of the Social Security system every year since it's beginning. If you take their rhetoric from just 3 years after it's inception you could publish it toay by just changing the date and it would sound the same.

As an example, USA Today ran an article on January 14th, written by a former Heritage Foundation member who is now a Harvard Law student, that simply echoed the Administration's misinformation while completely ignoring the Office of Management and Budget's recent analysis of the status of the Social Security System which projects solvency out to at least 2048 and beyond.

We're about to all get collectively screwed here so that conservatives can adhere to their mantra of "killing big government" even if it means ending the most successful program in our history. An oh yes, Wall Street brokers (primarily Republican supporters) stand to receive a windfall of mammoth proportions if Social Security can be gutted and every American forced into the stock market to seek safety.

Does this Administration and Republican's honestly believe that young teenagers, married couples; parents with kids in college or disabled dependents are going to open and fund Retirement accounts vs putting food on the table. They don't do it now, why would they suddenly start?

You continually hear that the market has been the safest place to invest for the past 70+ years. What you don't hear is that it was "under-funded" for most of those years and therefore "under-valued". Now that almost everyone has a 401K or IRA, money has flooded the market at it's no longer under-valued, and may in fact be over-valued. The history of the Stock Market's performance is not what it appears and no serious economist would use it to benchmark performance over the next 70 years.

The Stock Market is a jungle. Today it's the free market place's most ruthless taskmaster and it's neither, safe, just or fair! For the average citizen, with no extraordinary knowledge of business, it's ridiculously absurd to try and beat.

Also, Social Security has the lowest overhead of any major investment organization in history. Less than 1% goes to administration. How many Brokers take less than 1%?

Not one single government program from Education to Social Security to the Environment has been initiated or backed by conservatives. Their long-term history is that they block, gut or kill these programs and that's what is going on here.

What do they say, "if it looks like a duck, acts like a duck and sounds like a duck -- it's prbably a duck! This is just another "kill big government initiative" that has nothing whatsoever to do with what's good for the average citezen.

Well, Social Security looks like a Dead Duck to me if we don't collectively voice our outrage over the lie that it's in crisis. The only crisis is that the average citezen will believe this lie!

Greg Wiley

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