Yah gotta love the headline:
Bush Opening Social Security Debate Without Saying Much
So at least one major US paper has finally caught onto the act and isn’t afraid to say so. Dig:
Bush is promising to protect existing benefits for current retirees and others who will soon retire, while holding the line on the paycheck deductions that finance Social Security. But he is reiterating his desire to let younger workers begin using for private investment some of the money they pay to the government for the program.Purposefully left unanswered are the most divisive questions — such as what fraction of a worker’s payroll taxes could go into a private investment account instead of the Social Security trust fund, how the government would pay the estimated $1 trillion in transition costs, and how the government would protect retirees whose investments did not turn out well.
Many experts, including some conservatives, also think any meaningful privatization plan would eventually involve some combination of reduced benefits and higher worker contributions. Bush is expected to continue to skirt that issue as well.
Confronting such matters, Republican strategists fear, could make Bush and other GOP candidates vulnerable to attacks in key states such as Florida, where senior voters have a history of punishing candidates who talk of changing Social Security.
“What they’re afraid of is that they’d embrace a particular idea and the other side will demagogue the hell out of it,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who has introduced legislation to create private accounts based largely on the recommendations of a commission appointed in 2001 by Bush. Graham is working closely with the White House on the issue. (emphasis added)
Bullshit, Lindsey. What they’re afraid of–what they know–is that if the people ever figure out what they’re really planning to do, the people will have a goddam fit and throw them out faster than Bill O’Reilly can say ‘loony liberal traitors’. The flat fact is, they don’t dare. The seniors would raise hell, the soccer moms would KarPool for Kerry on election day, and 2/3 of the country would react with stunned disbelief followed by outrage. The only reason they’ve survived this long is because they’ve been governing by secret fiat and a lazy corporate press let them get away with it.
What happens if the lazy corporate press wakes up? Curtains, baby, curtains. It’s all over but the wailing and gnashing of conservative teeth.
All Hail the Los Angeles Times!
(Now if only the NYT, WaPo, and the major networks would get a clue….)