Saturday, February 05, 2005


Paging Doctor Bush

Performance Review
Foreign Policy: After a catastrophic attack by an Islamic extremist terror group based in Afghanistan, he commits a small percentage of U.S. forces there, and the majority of available forces go to invade a country completely unrelated to the problem, and which was not even close to being an imminent threat: Iraq! How does he pay for this costly foreign adventure? By cutting taxes for the wealthy and increasing the deficit, of course.
Domestic policy: After four years of economic stagnation, weak job creation, and an increasing health care crisis, all issues that voters of both parties expressed concern about, he commits a small percentage of his time working on these issues, and the majority of his time working on an issue completely unrelated to these problems, and which is not even close to being an imminent problem:Social Security. How does he want to fix this non-problem? By pushing a bogus privatization scheme, cutting guaranteed benefits, and increasing the deficit...
It's a good thing he's not a doctor:

Dr. Bush: So, what's the problem today?
Patient: My left arm, I think it's broken.
Dr. Bush: Here, take some aspirin for that while I amputate your right leg.
(cue rimshot)

While I agree wholeheartedly with the premise, I have to disagree with the statement that SS is completely unrelated to four years of economic stagnation and weak job creation. SS is dependent upon a good economy: more workers paying more in to the SS trust fund.
And while privatization is certainly not the answer, and the crisis certainly is not imminent, SS does need some tweaking in order to remain solvent for future generations.
In my opinion, the retirement age should be gradually increased and the early retirement age should immediately be increased. The cap on payments into the SS system should be raised to somewhere in the range of $120,000 per year. These are fairly painless steps and need to be done to account for longer life expectancy, changing demographics, higher wages and inflation.
Also, and in my mind maybe most important, an audit should be done to make sure of 2 things. First and foremost, make sure that all of the money that has been borrowed from the Trust Fund is truly accounted for by the Treasury bonds that have been left in the place of cash. Secondly, make sure that everyone who is collecting from the SS system is truly entitled to those benefits.
Rich, Thanks for your comment. All I said was that SS wasn't close to being an imminent crisis. It will be in need of some tweaking along the way, but the Pesident was trying to sell it as a crisis a few weeks ago. He has since calmed down his rhetoric, since it was obvious the "crisis" language wasn't selling. You make some good points on how to fix things.
The real agenda of the right wing, however is to kill social security, which is the most successful of the New Deal liberalism programs (and the most successful government social program in world history).
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