George Bush's current plan to "fix" Social Security demands scrutiny. While he spends billions on the unnecessary war he started, he claims America just can't afford to support the elderly, and cuts Medicaid, job training, clean water programs and Pell grants. George "thinks" (feels in his gut), that people should have the opportunity to invest part of their Social Security payments in the stock market because, he says, people will accrue more that way for retirement. Of course, the people who lost their retirements when Enron went belly up, or those who lost their savings when the company Bush's brother, Neil, was involved in - Silverado Savings and Loan Co. - went bankrupt, or the millions who lost everything in the 1929 stock market crash go unmentioned as George promotes his latest scam or, pardon me, scheme.
Since the stock market is always risky, it has been said that the only ones who are certain to prosper from this are the financial operators on Wall Street. It was recently reported in The Shreveport Times that Rep. Jim McCrery, chairman of the Social Security subcommittee in congress, took $200,000 from financial-sector firms. What a coincidence!
The Republicans have been pushing privatization for years - more privatization of medical services, education, and now social security. Their strategy is to convince the public the existing system doesn't work by not funding it and letting it go to hell. Then, people start agreeing it doesn't work and must be fixed. When the street car companies were bought up by a cartel of oil, rubber, and auto interests in the late 1940s, the cartel raised prices and decreased maintenance. Then, they told the public that street cars were outmoded and overpriced. With increased public agreement, the cartel tore up the tracks and scrapped the streetcars, creating increased demand for cars, buses, gasoline, and highways. Some of the side effects have been added personal expense, air pollution, urban decay, fractured communities, suburban sprawl, and the increased oil dependency we enjoy today. This was bad for society, but profitable for the cartel.
I challenge Bush to prove how the Social Security system is broken. He has never proven any of his other assumptions except for his assumption that one-half of the public will believe anything he says.
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