Friday, September 08, 2006
Speaking Of Mark Kennedy...
...the question he's dodging has to do with his stance on Social Security. Eric Black shouldn't feel singled out. As TPM shows, Kennedy refuses to let himself be pinned down on Social Security. I have some remarks of my own, and in case they don't survive the moderation process over at TBQ (taps the glass of Eric Black's monitor to see if he's there), I'm reproducing them right here:
The only danger Social Security is in is from the Republicans so eager to get to give that $1.7 trillion trust fund to their brokerage-firm donor buddies (and to destroy a government program that works and works well, having single-handedly ended the endemic poverty that afflicted most elderly Americans prior to its implementation). As several commentators spent most of December 2004 through the spring of 2005 demonstrating (go here, here and here for starters), so long as the economy grows at anything above Great Depression levels of growth, Social Security stays solvent forever. Not for a few decades, but forever. Note, too, the doubletalk that Bush and his privatizers commit in order to make the case for destroying Social Security and giving its plundered corpse to the brokerage houses. Here’s Part One of the scam: To justify the gloom-and-doom scenario for Social Security, they assume average economic growth rates over the next thirty-odd years of around 1.7%. That’s what we had during the Great Depression. So they’re essentially predicting that the US is going to be a thirty-year-long Great Depression. But wait, it gets better: To sell the public on privatization, the Bush people claim rates of return that can only be obtained if the economy is growing at a peak-boom rate of over 4.5% to 5% per year forever. In other words, they’re predicting both Depression Forever and Boom Forever — at the same time. Oh, and need I say that the GOP’s “Social Security hurts blacks” line is pure garbage? Nope, because Krugman beat me to it. The reality is that Social Security will stay solvent so long the economy continues to grow at even subnormal rates. An average annual growth rate of 2.6%, which is considerably lower than the average of the last seven decades (even with the Great Depression years thrown in), will keep the program funded in perpetuity. Meanwhile, pension privatization has been a disaster everywhere it’s been tried. Pensions get eaten up in soaring overhead costs, for one thing.
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