Friday, February 18, 2005

Three Card Monte

There he goes again. Krugman is still calling the administration's Social Security phase-out plan "privatization", long after the WH has let it be known that they don't like that word and that that is not what their plan does.

But Krugman goes on to link the administration's talk of invading Social Security with its invasion of Iraq. The comparison goes something like this: The administration wants to go to war with Iraq and in issuing a call to arms happens to make a reference or several references to 9-11 or Al Qaeda in the same speech. Some french-loving commentators or bloggerers on the Internets counter that there is no connection between Iraq and 9-11. The administration responds that, yes, technically, there is no connection, but then right away goes back to its "Iraq-911-Osama bin Laden-Iraq-terrorists-911-Iraq-Saddam Hussein-911-terrorists" shell game. The administration ultimately rallies the American people (or at least the gangbangers on Fox "News" and NRO) and launches an invasion of Iraq.

Now, Krugman tells us, the administration is playing the same game with Social Security. The administration says Social Security is going bankrupt, and that it wants to introduce "personal investment accounts" to help people build wealth in Social Security. But, critics of the administration's Social Security scheme say, privatizing Social Security does nothing to alleviate the system's (very) long term financing difficulties emenating from the aging and increasing longevity of the population. The administration responds that, "yes, this is technically true, privatization will not solve Social Security's long term deficit", and then returns to its "Social Security bankruptcy-personal accounts-wealth-bankruptcy-Social Security-private accounts-assets-bankruptcy-inheritance-wealth-bankrupcy" spiel.

In order to inject some much needed bipartisan spirit into these discussions, I would like to clearly state, unequivocally, and on the record, that there is not, nor has there ever been, a connection between Iraq and Social Security. The administration's conduct on Iraq and Social Security have nothing to do with each other. Nothing. There is no link between the lies on Iraq and Social Security. They are a completely different set of lies. Iraq-Social Security-Iraq-bankruptcy-weapons of mass destruction-mushroom clouds-Social Security crisis-bankruptcy-Saddam Hussein-Iraq-Social Security-privatization-Iraq-911-saving Social Security-Iraq...

I hope this has cleared that up.

Meanwhile, those hoping for some bipartisan resolution to the crisis that is the administration's plan for getting rid of Social Security suffered yet another stinging defeat yesterday when House Majority leader Tom Delay announced his objections to suggestions to raise Social Security's taxable maximum amount (currently $90,000) that President Bush, in a moment of candor, admitted might be worthy of consideration if Social Security's 75 year financing estimates are to be strengthened. But The Hammer objected (and will soon, I suspect, see to it that the WH gets the memo on no taxable maximum increase on the TPS reports). That would be a tax increase, said Mr. Delay, and this Congress didn't come here to raise taxes. OK. But does Delay realize that the taxable maximum amount increases every year anyway? It does. It's increased each year by the growth in the average wage index. Does Delay consider this indexing a "tax increase", too?

Now, as for the bipartisanship the Republican Party and media suddenly want Democrats to embrace on Social Security (and everything else), what is it that the Republican Party is willing to compromise on? If there is nothing, then our votes are not needed and nor will they be offered. If Republicans are not willing to compromise on anything, does that mean that they are the "obstructionists"?

Just checking.

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