presents The Angry Liberal
Security Reform, Part I: Bush is Lost in Des Moines
March 4, 2002
George W. Bush is taking time out from his busy wartime schedule to wander around the nation campaigning. Never mind that his own election is more than two years away. My guess is that Bush's flunkies figure he got all the mileage he could out of September 11, and now that there is no more political hay to be made from the deaths of thousands of Americans, it's time to get back to the business of . . . goofing off.
In a stop in Des Moines yesterday, Bush raised money for Rep. Tom Latham (whose district does not include Des Moines, by the way). In order to pawn off some of the trip's cost onto the taxpayers, he also gave a speech on the dumbest and most dangerous idea in America since, well, electing a moron President of the United States: privatizing Social Security. While discussing taking a portion of one's Social Security tax money and investing it in the stock market, Bush told workers at a local print shop the following:
Bush, once again underscoring his own ignorance of the workings of government, is apparently unaware that Social Security tax revenue does not belong to those who paid it. It belongs to those who paid years ago and are now receiving Social Security benefits. Bush seems to think that as you pay Social Security taxes, the government stuffs your contribution under a mattress somewhere so it will be waiting when you retire. I hate to break it to our dimwit-in-chief, but the government collects money from current workers and hands it straight over to retirees. This is how it works in theory, anyway. In fact, the government collects a lot more than it needs to pay for the current beneficiaries, and this over-payment doesn't go under a mattress, either. The government writes the Social Security trust fund an I.O.U. and then dumps this extra cash into the general fund and spends it.
Now, this practice is just as much the fault of the Democrats as the Republicans. George W. Bush, the "tax-cut" president, bears the blame for not fixing it, though. Remember when Bush decided that the government had so much money that they had to give a bunch of it back to the taxpayers? Well, had Bush bothered to look, he would have noticed that current Social Security taxpayers have been over-charged more than $1 trillion over the years. Kids, this is the most regressive tax collection scheme in the nation, paid almost exclusively by the working poor and the middle class. Income tax, a good portion of which is paid by the rich, has been under-collected to the tune of $5.7 trillion. So when it came time to give this "tax surplus" away, which group did Bush pick? Let's see: The government owes the poor and middle class $1 trillion in over-collected Social Security tax, and the middle class and rich owe the government $5.7 trillion. I know! Let's give the "surplus" to the rich! Better still, as the ecomomy goes into the toilet and the "surplus" fails to materialize, let's borrow money from our kids and give that to the rich, too! I can't begin to express how unfair this policy is.
Bush really wants to trust Social Security taxpayers with their own money,
he should write us a check for the $1 trillion that the government has
improperly collected from us. Anything short of that is just a lot of
Write The Angry Liberal at: firstname.lastname@example.org
© 2002, The Angry Liberal
otherwise noted, all original