April 5, 2013

OUR REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT:

Obama making historic mistake on Social Security  (MICHAEL LIND, 4/05/13, Salon)

President Obama reportedly is unveiling a budget using the chained CPI inflation measure to cheat elderly Americans out of the benefits they were promised. In two previous posts I've explained the perversity of the current debate about Social Security. The tax-favored private components of America's mixed private-public retirement system -- programs like employer pensions, 401Ks and IRAs -- are inefficient, volatile and subject to manipulation by overcompensated, fee-extracting money managers. In contrast, the Social Security program is simple and efficient, and has low overhead costs. And yet the bipartisan establishment, including many "progressive" Democrats as well as Republicans, wants to cut Social Security -- the part that works -- and expand tax-favored private savings, the inefficient, unstable and inequitable part.

While cutting Social Security makes no sense at all in terms of economics or public policy, it makes excellent sense in terms of the selfish class interests of the super-rich.  They have extracted about half the gains from economic growth in the U.S. in the last half-century and recycle some of their profits to fund politicians, and lobbyists, as well as mercenary propagandists who pose as neutral think tank experts. Social Security's contribution to the retirement income of the rich is negligible, while the top 20 percent receives around 80 percent of the income from tax-favored private retirement savings accounts like 401Ks. Naturally many of America's oligarchs want the public discussion to be solely about cutting Social Security benefits for the bottom 80 percent, rather than 401Ks for the top 20 percent. To paraphrase Leona Helmsley, Social Security is for the little people. And if we cannot afford all of our present public-plus-private retirement system ... well, as the saying in Tsarist Russia had it, let any shortage be shared among the peasants.


Posted by at April 5, 2013 6:35 PM
  

blog comments powered by Disqus
« NO ONE HAS IT HARDER THAN THEIR DAD DID: | Main | WHICH ISN'T QUITE FAIR TO FOLKS IN MEDICINE...: »