Saturday, January 15, 2005

Social Security

The American Mind has concerns about using the phrase "politics of fear" in describing the President's attempt to "reform" social Security. Primarily because he thinks that this is a Democratic phrase.

But "politics of fear" is pretty accurate. The "politics of fear" has been the most effective Bush strategy for trying to get his side of issues to be accepted by the American public. For example, most Americans feared that Saddam was about to use WMDs after listening to Bush and his administration. Ooops. (Well, wrong on the facts, but successful on the politics.)

Now Bush and the administration want us to think that there is a Social Security crisis. But the facts say otherwise. Luckily we all know that facts rarely play a role in politics. The simple fact is that this crisis (or "fear") is being manufactured to further a longtime Republican goal -- the elimination of social security.

In the end the whole debate is whether Social Security should be about creating a social insurance safety net for the elderly, (which may redistribute some money from rich to poor), or is it about creating a system that may allow greater individual opportunity, and reward, but with a certain amount of risk, (which will result in no redistribution, but will result in some people losing money and ending up with significantly less to grow old on, if they choose poorly.)

Let’s at least frame the debate properly, and not pretend that there is some sort of immediate Social Security crisis. But since the debate is not being broached honestly, “politics of fear” is a rather apt description.