[Paleopsych] Exposing the Echo Chamber Behind Social Security Privatization

Lynn D. Johnson, Ph.D. ljohnson at solution-consulting.com
Thu Mar 3 03:25:33 UTC 2005

This is kind of an odd piece. I don't really understand the level of 
animus on the topic. It is written in a rather ugly, hateful style, with 
no genuine content and lots of logical falacies. There is lots of 
guilt-by-association stuff, which is irrelevant to any logical analysis. 
There is name-calling and labeling, which are classic cognitive errors. 
Us-versus-them, and we are righteous and they are evil. All heat, no 
light. What is your intention in publishing it?

I actually don't see that there is any reasonable alternative to 
privitizing, if we get beyond the logical  errors. The facts are known. 
By 2018 the system goes into the red. There will be three workers 
supporting each retired drone (I being one of them, presumably).

Usual alternatives:
    1. Raise taxes: bad for the economy; the Laffer curve is not a joke 
(hah! I made that up). Three workers cannot support one drone, even 
someone like me who is so very deserving. Medicare and SS will consume 
almost all of the federal budget.
    2. Raise the retirement age: the most reasonable alternative, but 
least palatable to the public. In Europe the trend is to retire in the 
50s. That means crushing taxes, which is why the European economy is in 
such trouble. Look at the unemployment figures.
    3. Inflate the currency - unacceptable.
    4. Import more and more foreign workers to compensate for the 
plunging population rates. The only countries in the world that are 
above shrinkage are third world. We see what has happened in Europe when 
we import workers who don't have our best interests at heart.
    5. Michael's solution????

Facts: There is NO MONEY in the trust account, just IOUs. To pay off the 
so-called trust fund, we must raid other government programs and or 
raise taxes and cripple the economy. This has been known since the late 
1980s and Republicans as well as Democrats conspired to spend the money 
and put IOUs into the treasury. What should have happened? Well, I 
suppose buying commodities like gold, silver, copper, and so on would 
have at least preserved the principal. But instead the money is gone, 
spent on pork in both Red and Blue states.
    The baby boomers hit retirement age in 3 years and following.
    The country cannot support social programs, defense, and drones all 
at the same time. What will be done? Europe cut its defense, and at this 
point, European military is oxymoronic. The taxes are a huge drain, and 
anti-capitalist laws make it suicide to try to start a company.
    Social Security is not an insurance company. That was established at 
the beginning, in a supreme court decision. Congress can change it at 
any time, in any way.
    Only by allowing people to OWN their retirement, only by creating an 
ownership society where if I die at 64, I can pass my money on to my 
children, can we get out of the corner we are in.
    I'd like to see a coherent, data-based analysis that leads to any 
other solution.
Michael Christopher wrote:

>Exposing the Echo Chamber Behind Social Security
>The Bush administration ventriloquists are out in full
>force these days, breathlessly hyping "Personal
>Retirement Accounts" as a way to save Social Security
>by destroying it. For the average voter, getting a
>handle on what the Bush administration is proposing to
>do to Social Security is quite a challenge. The dozens
>of bobbing heads and clicking fingers, holding forth
>on cable news programming and the Internet is enough
>to make anyone's head spin. Is that spokesman from the
>Alliance for Worker Retirement Security speaking as an
>independent economics expert, a civic-minded
>individual or as a paid shill from a corporate-funded
>front group?
>If you're having trouble keeping track of all the
>players, our very own SourceWatch can help. It will
>tell you that the Alliance is sponsored by the
>National Association of Manufacturers, the U.S.
>Chamber of Commerce, and the Business Roundtable,
>among other pro-business groups. It shares its
>executive director Derrick Max and a number of its
>members with the Coalition for the Modernization and
>Protection of America's Social Security (COMPASS). In
>fact, the Alliance and COMPASS both count as members
>of the United Seniors Association, a corporate-funded
>lobbying group that recently changed its name to
>The New York Times reported Monday that USANext is
>launching a campaign "to spend as much as $10 million
>on commercials and other tactics assailing AARP, the
>powerhouse lobby opposing [Social Security] private
>investment accounts." To oversee the operation,
>USANext hired Chris LaCivita, recently of the 527
>groups Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and Progress for
>America and an employee of the DCI Group, a firm
>specializing in astroturf with close ties to the Bush
>White House. True to its word USANext, ran an ad on
>the American Spectator that equates the AARP to the
>"spit-on-the-troops/gay marriage lobby," as
>TalkingPointsMemo blogger Josh Marshall has been
>Progress for America, after raising $38 million last
>year to support Bush's reelection, has also jumped in
>to the Social Security privatization game. PFA "has
>estimated it will spend $20 million promoting private
>accounts. It has run a series of ads on cable
>television, including a spot that invokes the legacy
>of Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt, who signed
>the legislation creating the retirement system," the
>Houston Chronicle reported.
>PFA told the Chronicle it will be asking past donors
>for money to fund their new campaign. The head of the
>prominent investment firm Charles Schwab contributed
>$50,000 to the group's political arm in 2004. Schwab
>gave $75,000 more to the Club for Growth, which is
>also lobbying for Social Security privatization and
>expects to spend $10 million lobbying to promote
>private accounts. Peter J. Ferrara, an alumnus of the
>Cato Institute, Heritage Foundation and National
>Center for Policy Analysis, is heading the Club's
>Social Security Project. 
>"The emergence of the center-right phalanx backing the
>Social Security proposal is a major victory for the
>Cato Institute, a prominent libertarian group," The
>Washington Post's Thomas Edsall wrote recently. "In
>the late 1970s and early 1980s, Cato was almost alone
>in its willingness to challenge the legitimacy of the
>existing Social Security system, a politically
>sacrosanct retirement program. Recognizing the
>wariness of other conservatives to tackle Social
>Security, Cato in 1983 published an article calling
>for privatization of the system. The article argued
>that companies that stand to profit from privatization
>- 'the banks, insurance companies and other
>institutions that will gain' - had to be brought into
>alliance. Second, the article called for initiation of
>'guerrilla warfare against both the current Social
>Security system and the coalition that supports it.'" 
>Clearly, the "guerrilla warfare" has begun. And while
>it may seem like we're playing a GOP version of Six
>Degrees of Kevin Bacon, the stakes are high. The
>foundations of the U.S. system to ensure that average
>workers and their families are not left penniless, out
>in the cold is under serious attack. At SourceWatch
>we're tracking these innocent-enough sounding groups
>and what they are doing. And the best part is, you can
>help. SourceWatch is open to online citizens to add or
>edit any article in our collaborative database of
>people, groups and ideas shaping the public agenda. 
>The uncovering of the GOP plant Jeff Gannon (aka James
>Guckert) in the White House press room was the work of
>online citizen journalists, using their web research
>skills to expose the fake reporter and the White
>House's failure to explain truthfully how he got to
>ask the President a question. We do the same thing at
>SourceWatch, documenting the hidden connections
>between corporate trade associations, astroturf
>groups, and the White House. 
>Want to cover the newly minted website Generations
>Together? Or find out what impact Women for a Social
>Security Choice is having? How would you like to dig
>in and discover the common elements shared by Alliance
>for Retirement Prosperity and FreedomWorks? 
>So far, we've catalogued over two dozen articles on
>individuals and groups that are promoting Bush's
>Social Security privatization plan. There's plenty of
>groups and people to go around. To get involved, visit
>SourceWatch's "Welcome newcomers" page. On it you'll
>find tips for using a Wiki (SourceWatch runs on Wiki
>software), guidelines for writing SourceWatch articles
>and for research using the Web, plus advise from
>experienced SourceWatchers on how to research front
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