"This is not a crisis." Those are the words of everyone's favorite conservative Newt Gingrich, and the antecedent to "this," of course, is "social security."
No, it's not a crisis. However, the Bush administration has gone to great lengths to create a fictional crisis in order to win support for their inane, inhumane plan to privatize social security. Students of politics and rhetoric recognize this old trick, create a crisis and provoke people to act (or comply, might be more accurate). In fact, hmm, we've seen this trick employed by this same administration recently to justify another action . . . now, what was it? Oh yeah, that whole imminent destruction at the hands of Iraq's nuclear program thing. That little crisis.
One of the things I find most distasteful about the plan to privatize the social security program is how transparently it's really just a big up to the financial industry. *You* may invest your retirement savings and lose them on the stock market and the Bush administration and the Objectivist crowd would shrug it off as not their problem. Hey, at least you had "Social Security choice." Right? But no matter how much you lose, the financial industry earns more and more with the GIGANTIC influx of fees they're ensured if social security goes private.
So who does this plan primarily benefit? I'd say three basic groups:
1. Really wealthy people who don't need to worry about social security anyway. They're likely pretty savvy about investing already, so this plan may provide them with a little extra gravy. Slurp!
2. Folks who think the government only needs to get smaller (Hi Objectivists*! Hi Cato Institute!) and that we shouldn't have to support people we don't now. That the poor should just pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. Learn how to invest, poor people, and your retirement woes will fade away! Think and grow rich!
3. The financial industry folks. Ka-ching, baby! Ka-ching!
Does it benefit the folks who would need the most help? Clearly not. That's why I've taken the unusual step of adding a banner to the There Is No Crisis site at left. It's not a money-making enterprise - at least I'm not getting one red cent by linking to them - it's simply a site better equipped than mine to help debunk the whole social security crisis myth the administration is peddling. It serves as a sort of clearinghouse for info clarifying the present state of social security.
*To be fair, not all Objectivists support the Bush plan. They're against it for vastly different reasons than I am though.