February 09, 2005

Defaulting on the Trust Fund

President Bush said today that the trust fund was a chimera and the American public was going to have to just accept that the money was gone. As Josh Marshall says, the President is dangerously close to violating his oath of office with this type of talk.

Yet, it is good that Bush has made this point so explicitly because many of us knew that the only reason that there would be trouble with Social Security in 2018 was if the thieves decided that they had no obligation to pay back the trust funds. A number of my conversations about Social Security have pointed out exactly that: the only way there would be a problem in 2018 is if the government refuses to honor the debt that it has taken on.

Where did Bush get this bright idea? We don't have to look too much further than his good pal, Alan Greenspan who started this theme last February. Last Valentine's Day, I posted the following:

Greenspan Thinks You Should Pay For Bush's Prolifigate Spending

Alan Greenspan weighed in on Bush's tax cuts and the deficit this week. He said that he would support making Bush's tax cuts (for the very wealthy) permanent if spending was cut to make up for the problem. How very nice of him.

Mr. Greenspan, by contrast, urged lawmakers to examine cuts in mandatory entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare.

However, Mr Greenspan neglected to note that solving the deficit problem by cutting Social Security benefits would once more rob ordinary Americans in another even more explicit reverse Robin Hood ploy than Bush's dad fostered in the great Savings and Loan bailout. One where the very fortunate can once more feed off the sweat and blood of the "lucky duckies".

Why is that? Well, ordinary Americans have been paying EXTRA into the Social Security Trust Fund for the past 20 years. This extra tax which has impacted lower income taxpayers significantly more than upper income taxpayers has been collected for twenty years to make sure there were enough revenues to provide retirement funds for all Americans. Now Greenspan (and the other compassionate conservatives) want to cut the benefits of those who paid in for so many years. The result of this would be to take every penny of the trust fund and funnel it into the coffers of the wealthy with no IOUs.

Grover Norquist and Steve Moore (of Club for Growth) like to advocate for a taxpayers revote. Well, I think we should find ways to explain this massive and immoral ripoff designed to only benefit the very wealthy. How about some new slogans like: "You thought your extra taxes you paid through your working life would help you when you retired. WRONG! They are stealing your mandatory savings for their friends and leaving you the bill."

In this incident, Greenspan shows his true colors -- the only taxes that matter are the ones the wealthy pay. Screw the ordinary American who has paid significantly more of his income for decades to subsidize the "good life" for Bush and his friends.

Kevin Drum further clarifies this point here.

Posted by Mary at February 9, 2005 10:26 PM | Economy | Technorati links |

Defaulting=wmd in Iraq to scare the mouth-breathers to follow the supply side economics agenda

Posted by: jr at February 10, 2005 12:55 AM

this story and the transcript needs to be posted on common dreams, etc....i haven't seen this covered anywhere....can you or someone do this?

Posted by: chris at February 11, 2005 10:01 PM