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february 17, 2005

Social Insecurity

Even as Bush presses on with his Bamboozlepalooza Tour and the mainstream media does it's best to not "get involved", it has become painfully evident to the rest of us that Bush's Social Security "reform" plan (or at least what's been revealed) is highly suspect.

If you want to dig into why, our resident economics terminator Paul Krugman has been on the case (see here, here, here, and here), Josh Marshall has been doing all-star work, as has the rest of the blog community. You can even calculate how much money you're going to lose.

But the fact is, even many of the President's strongest supporters have now conceded that there's no real crisis, the details of Bush's plan are all wrong, and it does nothing to rescue Social Security anyway... they simply like the idea of private accounts. Hell, the President himself has now admitted that private accounts have no positive effect on Social Security's solvency, and oh, there really isn't a crises.

Which brings me to my point. The endless analysis has been critical in getting the President to admit that his plan does nothing to fix Social Security, but now that he has, what exactly is it we're debating, again? Why is he still on the road pushing private accounts?

As Senator Boxer pointed out the other day, a White House memo recently stated:

For the first time in six decades the Social Security battle is one we can win and in doing so, we can help transform the political and philosophical landscape of the country.

Stew on that for a second. What exactly is the "Social Security battle" that they've been trying to win for the last six decades?! Kinda brings things into focus, doesn't it?

As Paul Krugman concurs, this entire exercise has never had anything to do with shoring up one of the most successful government programs in history. Quite simply, Bush now believes he has the "political capital" to do something his ideological compadres have been wanting to do since the New Deal... stab Social Security in the heart.

To allow ourselves to lose sight of this simple fact when approaching this debate simply grants them their slim chance.