|American politics gets stranger every week:
Privatizing Social Security on the Backs of the Workers
The NYT’s Paul Krugman, who has a background in economics, has added his voice to the growing chorus of critics of the Bush administration’s reckless, discriminatory, and really stupid economic policies. In an op-ed piece Borrow, Speculate and Hope, he points out how intellectually and morally bankrupt the administration’s social security privatization scheme is:
Privatization would begin by diverting payroll taxes, which pay for current Social Security benefits, into personal investment accounts. The government, already deep in deficit, would have to borrow to make up the shortfall. This would sharply increase the government’s debt. Never mind, privatization advocates say: in the long run, they claim, people would make so much on personal accounts that the government could save money by cutting retirees’ benefits. The government would, in effect, confiscate workers’ gains in their personal accounts by cutting those workers’ benefits.
There is, by the way, a precedent for Bush-style privatization. One major reason for Argentina’s rapid debt buildup in the 1990’s was a pension reform involving a switch to individual accounts – a switch that President Carlos Menem, like President Bush, decided to finance with borrowing rather than taxes. So Mr. Bush intends to emulate a plan that helped set the stage for Argentina’s economic crisis.
If Mr. Bush were to say in plain English that his plan to solve our fiscal problems is to borrow trillions, put the money into stocks and hope for the best, everyone would denounce that plan as the height of irresponsibility. The fact that this plan has an elaborate disguise, one that would add considerably to its costs, makes it worse.
More Bush Star Wars Nonsense
Also in the NYT, Douglas Jehl describes the new secret spy plane program that is so misguided and expensive that the members of the Senate Intelligence Committee (there’s an oxymoron for you) are starting to violate the confidentiality of the committee’s discussions in their anger. One senator calls it “totally unjustified and very, very wasteful”. Another calls it “unnecessary, ineffective, over budget and too expensive”. Despite this, not only will the Republican dominated Congress probably approve this deranged program, the voters who have to pay for it won’t even know what their money is being wasted on. In any other civilized country, this kind of scandal would bring down the government in disgrace.
Uggabugga’s Seal for Alberto Gonzales
On a lighter note, Uggabugga has suggested the seal depicted above for the new US Department of Justice head, since he’s the guy that told the Pentagon, the president and others that the Geneva Convention doesn’t apply in the war on terror. The translation is the mantra of the whole Bush regime: The End Justifies the Means.