Trying to convince the public to cut America’s best-loved and most successful program requires a lot of creativity and persistence. Social Security is fiscally fit, prudently managed and does not add to the deficit because by law it must be completely detached from the federal operating budget. Obviously, it is needed more than ever in a time of increasing job insecurity and disappearing pensions. It helps our economy thrive and boosts the productivity of working Americans. And yet the sharks are in a frenzy to shred it in the upcoming “fiscal cliff” discussions.
The most popular red herring Social Security hustlers have unleashed into the waters of public discourse has grown into such a massive whale of a lie that liberals frequently subscribe to it. The idea goes like this: We need to somehow “fix” Social Security because people are living longer – “fix” in this context being code for “cut.” Two groups stand to benefit in the short-term from such a scheme: the greedy rich, who do not want to pay their share in taxes, and financiers, who want to move towards privatizing retirement accounts so they can collect fees. As for the masses of hard-working people who have rightfully earned their retirement, the only “fix” is the fix they will be in if already modest benefits are further reduced.
Here are five clear reasons why the life expectancy argument is nonsensical, counterproductive and based on a pack of lies. [must read]
Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin chairs the House Budget Committee and is also a follower of the philosophy of Ayn Rand. As he put it, “ I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand” which is why he requires staffers to read Atlas Shrugged. Normally we don’t think of Republican members of congress as super-concerned with the poor, and we especially don’t think of Republican members of congress who are also committed Randians to be super-concerned with the poor. And, indeed, Ryan’s priorities as revealed in both last year’s version of his budget proposal and this year’s new one are to keep taxes low and military spending high. Obviously to do that you need to ax programs aimed at benefitting poor people.