Tuesday, February 08, 2005

What Kevin Drum Says...

For the love of God, can we stop this? Democrats would be delighted to rescue Social Security by keeping the inheritance tax or undoing Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy. It's Republicans who won't hear of it. Democrats are also happy to support add-on private accounts. You can hardly swing a dead cat without hearing some Democrat saying so. But that's not what George Bush is proposing. And I imagine Democrats would be open to the idea of reducing the payroll tax and replacing it with something more progressive, too. But Bush's plan contains nothing of the kind.

As happens so often, the journalistic community has decided that they're required to say that both sides are being equally irresponsible, regardless of the facts. The way to do this, apparently, is to (a) condemn Democrats for opposing a plan they all acknowledge is a bad one, and (b) then condemn them further for not supporting their own favored alternatives, even though they know perfectly well that the obstacle to these alternatives is not Democrats but Republicans.

It's George Bush who's insisting on a private account plan that even his own people admit won't do anything to shore up Social Security's finances. It's George Bush who's insisting that the only cures he'll consider are ones that include huge — but quiet — benefit cuts. It's George Bush who has publicly refused to even consider proposals to increase Social Security revenue in any way. It's George Bush who has run up the unconscionable deficits that are far more responsible for our deterioriating finances than anything in the Social Security system.

The facts: Social Security has modest problems that are many decades out. They could be easily solved with small benefit cuts combined with small tax increases. A bipartisan solution could be hammered out in a few days if it weren't for one person: George Bush.

The problem isn't that Democrats aren't willing to negotiate. The problem is that Democrats don't have anyone to negotiate with. That ought to be the story.

I'm watching the Social Security debate with the horrified fascination of someone watching an on-coming train, knowing I can't get out of the way. The Rethuglican ideologues are determined to return American to the Gilded Age. This is clearly stated in every policy paper coming out of the Cato Insitute and other think tanks of that ilk. Like, DUH.

The only solace in all this is that the morons who voted for King George, the poor ones, that is, will pay the price of their stupidity far more than I will. Your children will die and be maimed in war, your health care support will be ripped away, your daughters will bear children they don't want and can't afford, your retirement benefits will be zero. You voted for your own impoverishment and degradation.

Me, I voted for good jobs, better living conditions, an end to stupid, pointless war, and a return to real ethical standards.

Hope you're happy with losing your Social Security checks.