4 Years Ago
Al Gore foundered in his debate with Dubya when he was unable to counter Dubya's simplistic sound bite that went something like:
"he trusts government, I trust people"
Of course, in a democracy the government is supposed to be the people, by the people and for the people, but we'll leave this aside for a moment.
Gore MIGHT have made points if he mentioned that the GOP doesn't govern for the government OR the people, but for big business. Kerry can, and IMO, should point this out.
The GOP's pandering to the pockets of the electorate needs to be countered. The "new" (it's been a conservative objective for 60 years) Dubya platform of turning over pensions and health to the citizens as opposed to the government will appeal to the shallow, who have been well fertilized with such manure for 60 years.
Yes, governments become inefficient over time, mostly through mismanagement. So do companies - who have the luxury of being able to go out of business when mismanagement gets too bad. Dubya's "new" platform condemns SS because of mismanagement - instead of calling for good management and accountability, his option is ideally suited to give big business a big hunk of dough - and to take away the second "s" from SS.
Are Americans overtaxed? Yes - if one looks to the level of service they receive for their tax dollars. Between defense spending and corporate welfare, at least half of their tax dollars go to business and not to the direct benefit of the tax payer.
But let's put class warfare back on the agenda. Middle America is certainly overtaxed, but corporate America and the wealthy elite most certainly are NOT overtaxed.
The GOP would like nothing more than a true "cross the board" taxation based on a VAT sales tax. GOP voters appear stupid enough to believe that this is in their best interest, some of them pointing out that if business does well, they do well.
This is patently false as the most recent economic data shows. Poverty is increasing while corporate profits increase and as executive salaries increase. Employment and salaries are not increasing as profit margins grow - the "free marketers" forget that supply and demand also affects the labor market negatively.
A "cross the board" tax will NOT make the lives of middle Americans any better, quite the contrary. Without incentive, businesses will not increase salaries or hire - and profits will not be shared unless business is put under duress....
... Americans are being fed, once again, the Big Lie.
I'm not surprised that Walmarters fall for it. Their German equivalents fell for it in the 1930's, it happens all the time when politicians fall prey to corruption. Especially when remorseless ideologues such as the neoconservatives, bereft of scruple, put the science of communication into their arsenal.
Back to SS - if government is inefficient, the end result is that money leaks. It leaks in the form of salaries. 50% of our economy is directly based on consumption, so the inefficiency is at least somewhat productive.
Put SS into corporate hands and we automatically have at least a similar level of inefficiency, in the form of programmed profits. SOME of these profits return to the economy, although not necessarily the American economy. And a good deal of the profits fall into the hands of people who virtually hoard money - a millionaire (no matter how much of a spendthrift he might be) does not consume as much as a large number of laborers.
But add to the programmed inefficiency of profits the inevitable degeneration of business. Companies too hire, create their bureaucracies, drown in fat. Until they die of congestive heart failure - which, in the case of a "privatized SS", means that large segments of the population will end up screwed.
Of course, the government will have to guarantee the solvency of privatized SS. Which means that we're in the same boat as before, except that a few people will have profit immensely at the cost of the worker.
The logical solution to the SS problem is to cut inefficiency through proper management and ACCOUNTABILITY. The most foolish solution is to add a middleman and his cut.
But then again, we need an informed electorate and not the manipulated and indoctrinated bunch that we have now.