Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Joe Conason on the Social Security phaseout drive

Joe Conason apparently changed his business arrangements around in some way. His column has appeared in Salon for several weeks, and last week it was also not in the New York Observer or Truthdig. But a column of his from 02/17/2011 shows up on Yahoo! News, Why Do They Hate Social Security? And even though we largely know "who", the "why" actually is something of a puzzle:

Among the mysteries of modern politics in America is why so many of our leading pundits and politicians persistently seek to undermine Social Security, that enduring and successful emblem of active government. In the current atmosphere of budgetary panic, self-proclaimed "centrists" are joining with ideologues of the right in yet another campaign against the program — and yet again they are misinforming the public about its purposes, costs and prospects. [my emphasis]
Conason is also someone who has followed closely the rightwing and (now) "moderate" Democratic campaign to phase out Social Security:

The actuarial experts whose job is to monitor Social Security's fortunes have long assured us that small and gradual rises in the tax revenues that support Social Security, accompanied by small and gradual shifts in benefits over the coming years, will solve whatever fiscal challenges the program may eventually confront. There is no reason to panic, and there is certainly no reason to consider wholesale changes in benefits.

Well, there is a reason, but only if your real aim is to destroy the system and replace it with something less useful but more profitable. Wall Street and its servants on Capitol Hill have lusted after Social Security's revenues for many years. And they regard the current uproar over the budget as a fresh opportunity to get their hands on a trillion-dollar bonanza. Given their record in recent years, it is all too easy to imagine how badly that would work out for everybody — except them, of course. [my emphasis]
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