November 16, 2004

REMEMBER WHEN THEY PUBLISHED FRED BARNES AND MORT KONDRACKE?:

Own Up: A DEMOCRATIC OWNERSHIP AGENDA (Eliot Spitzer, 11.16.04. New Republic)

Now Republicans want to privatize Social Security--leaving those saving for retirement at the mercy of a system they have failed miserably to police. If Social Security had been privatized during the last several years, retirees on fixed incomes would have lost billions more to scams.

Fortunately for millions of small investors, Democrats are watching out for them. Democrats have a proud history of stepping in, not to put the brakes on business but to protect small investors and ensure that the playing field is level for every American.


When Leon Panetta, an entirely sensible Democrat, was on Diuane Rehm the other day it was shocking to hear him, in the midst of a discussion of how to revive the Party, say that congressional Democrats had to stop Republicans from changing Social Security. But here's the Democrat's next big thing, Mr. Spitzer, in about as moderate a journal as the Left offers, saying the same thing. If even the putative centrists have been reduced to being nothing more than reactionaries defending the New Deal/Great Society the Democrats are in real trouble.

Social Security accounts are popular among younger folk and accepted even by older voters. When 60-70% of Americans want something they eventually get it. You can't return to being a competitive political party if you're on the 20-40% end of every issue.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 16, 2004 11:10 PM
Comments

To the extent that Mr. Panetta is an entirely sensible Democrat, it's because he started his political career as a Republican.

Posted by: Fred Jacobsen (San Fran) at November 16, 2004 11:59 PM

If privatization is good enough for CA's worthless public employees, CalPers, and even more worthless public school teachers, CALPTRS I believe is the acronym, why wouldn't would it be good enough for the rest of us.
A pox on all their houses, lying SOB's that they are.
Mike

Posted by: Mike Daley at November 17, 2004 12:19 AM

I had to cluebat a 30 y.o. who started in on SS. Gave her a different perspective.

Posted by: Sandy P at November 17, 2004 12:21 AM

What part of Ponzi scheme don't they understand?

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at November 17, 2004 12:30 AM

Actually, I have no objection to making the individual account portion of SS (i.e. the 2% of wages), a government savings bond. Everyone should have some fixed income investments anyway. You want to play the market use your IRA monaey.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at November 17, 2004 1:38 AM

The part where it collapses before they get theirs.

Posted by: Kyle Haight at November 17, 2004 1:38 AM

Obviously there is a significant population out there that still does not understand concepts like 'the time value of money.'

Stoking the fears of the arithmetically illiterate has been a Democrat staple since grandpa was a pup. Privatization, done intelligently, will increase the yields received by investors without affecting their risk class in a significant manner. Allowing money that is now in short term Treasuries earning 1-3% to be invested in AAA corporate bonds paying 5% will obviously reduce the amount of annual contributions necessary to maintain Social Security.

Let us not forget that there is a significant inside-the-Beltway bipartisan consensus that the Social Security trust fund exists solely to be looted by Congress for current expenditure on nonsense. These people and their friends in the MSM will howl incessantly about the evils of 'privatization' because it means one less interstate or post office in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. They will of course defiantly maintain that they are doing it 'for the little guy.'

Posted by: Bart at November 17, 2004 6:21 AM

Spitzer is running for governor in New York. He's gotta play to the crowd that elects New York's governors -- a crowd that is split 5-3 Democrat by registration. It's ironic, too, that the son of a multi-multi millionaire (if not billionaire) believes he knows what those not in his income bracket want or need.

Posted by: Anonymous at November 17, 2004 7:24 AM

Sandy: My experience is that if you just explain why SS is really a pay-as-you-go system, privatization becomes very attractive.

Posted by: David Cohen at November 17, 2004 7:48 AM

"These people and their friends in the MSM will howl incessantly about the evils of 'privatization' because it means one less interstate or post office in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. They will of course defiantly maintain that they are doing it 'for the little guy.'"

Great point Bart, they loose power and jobs too.

Posted by: Perry at November 17, 2004 8:34 AM

Decrying any change in Social Security is way easier for the Democrats than actually having to outline a coherent plan to deal with the coming problems, as the Baby Boomers ease their way though the body of the snake closer and closer to their retirement dates. For them, its better to attack Bush's plan and hope that by doing nothing now they can eventually get the system to the financial crisis point where they can get the public to do what they really want to do, but don't have the guts to say right now, which is to raise FICA taxes across the board. But since the first of the boomers will be at retirement age to coincide with the 2008 election, it's hard to see how they get away with this strategy even if they block Bush's privatization efforts between now and then.

Posted by: John at November 17, 2004 9:20 AM

I hope Spitzer is not claiming that SS is an 'investment'.

One would think he would at least want people to have the option of putting some money into Manhattan REITs.

Posted by: jim hamlen at November 17, 2004 9:31 AM

You can't return to being a competitive political party if you're on the 20-40% end of every issue.

You can if you seize power in a coup, followed by purge after purge after purge.

Posted by: Ken at November 17, 2004 12:26 PM

I want to see my LOCK BOX proposal revived. SS must be safe and secure.

Posted by: Al(not really) at November 19, 2004 10:13 AM
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