Monday, December 13, 2004

Say it ain't so, Joe.

Joe Scarborough - yes, THAT Joe Scarborough, the right-wing troglodyte, whom I have no doubt gratuitously insulted once or twice in this very space by calling him, oh, I don't know, troglodyte or something - at least has enough sense to know what a boondoggle the proposed corporatization of Social Security is.

Congressional memo to future generations: You're screwed (Joe Scarborough)

Take it from a not-so-old former congressman who knows: Proud young Americans, you are in for a con job from Washington that you can't even imagine.

Your government has already borrowed almost $8 trillion that it can't pay back. Guess who will have to write the check? That's right. You.

Expect massive tax hikes in your future, and wicked cuts in national defense, education, environmental enforcement, police protection and medical care for the poor and elderly.

Oh, you say the poor should pay for their health care just like you? Fine.

Wait till you have to crawl over 3-year-old kids dying on the front steps of the emergency room where you are taking your kids and then you will be asking yourself if it was really wise for this generation of politicians to spend money as responsibly as pot heads in an open-all-night grocery store.

And guess what these politicians who have already straddled you with an $8 trillion debt plan to do as soon as Congress gets back in session?

No, guess. Really. You'll love this.

They plan to plunge America into debt by $2 trillion more dollars!

You see, they've got this really cool plan to privatize parts of Social Security that usually make free market conservatives like myself giddy. We start talking about the invisible hand and the power of market forces.

Only problem is that this plan to get government off our backs costs a cool $2 trillion in transition fees.

And— let me see if you are following me here— who pays for that?

That's right. YOU!

But that's not the biggest problem with this $2 trillion Social Security plan. What bothers me the most is the fact that everybody in Washington knows that allowing Americans to invest parts of their Social Security payments in the stock market will produce some winners. But capitalism also always produces losers, and we all know that there will be millions of Americans who will make stupid investments in the coming years. (See Enron, etoys,, Worldcom)

So what will happen when they retire and start complaining to their local congressman and TV camera crews about how they're about to be thrown out in the streets because of the dumb investments they made with their Social Security payments years ago?

Congress will pass the "Save Our Stupid Seniors Investment Relief Act of 2025," thereby guaranteeing that all Americans will have all Social Security payments restored in full.

That will require that you take your third job in the Chinese high tech factory just so you can pay even more taxes to Washington.

It's a bright future, brought to you by a gang in Washington who really couldn't care less about what happens to the world they pass on to their children and grandchildren.

How do I know this? Because I was in Congress long enough to learn that you judge politicians by their actions, not their words.

P.S. I talk about the selling out of America by politicians in my book "Rome Wasn't Burnt in a Day."

P.P.S. Here's something you don't hear me say every day. Read Paul Krugman's column on this subject today. He comes to the same conclusion that I do: Congress will borrow $2 trillion today to privatize Social Security and then borrow trillions more to cover American's poor investments in the future. Here's the link to his column.

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