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View Diary: New anti-social security ad (304 comments)

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  •  My favorite bits of this ad. (none)
    "It took courage to create Social Security; it'll take courage and leadership to protect it."

    First of all, note the condescending implication that it did not particularly take leadership to create it in the first place.  Second, notice the Orwellian use of the word "protect," to mean "dismantle."

    "Once, 16 workers supported one retiree, but when today's workers retire, only two workers will support one retiree"

    First, we have this old canard about ratios again.  Not mentioned is the fact that today, SS has a ratio of three workers per retiree and is running a big surplus.  Second, notice the phrasing " retiree[s]," as if those who are now retired are living off of others rather than having put money into the system themselves for decades.  Third, "today's workers"?  Can you vague that up for me, please?  That covers people from their teens to their sixties.

    "No changes for those at or near retirement, but younger workers..."

    OK, this is a divide and conquer strategy.  The intent of this bit is to throw a bone to the Boomers and the AARP, while putting the thumbscrews to the Gen X-ers and younger.

    "...should have the option of a personal savings account."

    As if you can't walk into any bank right now and get a savings account.  But get this: if everyone has a personal savings account, then the number of workers supporting each retiree is not two but(drumroll please) one, yourself and nobody else.

    "Urge [Congress] to strengthen Social Security for everyone."

    Except that the ad just finished saying that not everyone will be treated the same.  Older workers get one system; younger workers get another.

    I need a drink now.

    La raison avant la passion: Reason before passion. --Pierre Elliott Trudeau

    by greenknight on Wed Jan 12, 2005 at 04:24:09 PM PST

    •  The counter-ad should be just as simple looking (none)
      And it should be a bit informative, because no TV pundit is going inform the basic facts. If we wish to persuade "dumbeats", we should not hurry with rhetorics.

      My ad text sketch is something like this:

      Why do they think that Social Security is in deep problem? Is it because we will have only 2 workers per retiree in 50 years?

      But now we have 3 workers per retiree, and the Social Security fund is still growing. The coming change is not so adverse as they say.

      Can Social Security be broken? If we do ill-advised things, yes. Social Security is supposed to be independent of markets' volatile changes.

      Why should we inflate financial markets with apparent savings only to put those markets under big stress when we would most need them?

      The best article on Social Security I saw is by David Price.

      •  Whjat we need is not a counter add... (none)
        It's a counter plan to show how we can maintain a financially healthy social security program in the years to come.

        If we don't come out with a clear alternative plan, we'll just appear as obstructionists.

        "We have already failed. Staying in longer makes us fail worse." -Three star Lt. General William Odom (retired), former head of National Security Agency

        by FightOn on Thu Jan 13, 2005 at 06:23:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  First of all, (none)
          we need to inform the public properly. Since TV pundits and government do not do that, the best option that is left is commercial adds.

          Secondly, saying that we mostly need "a financially healthy social security program" is admitting that SS is in deep problem. It is not. (And there would not be absolutely no hint of problems now if Lyndon Johnson would not have merge SS with the General Fund in order to finance Vietnam war.) Even if we do "nothing", the current
          system can pay all benefits for 40 years, and even if worse scenarios come true after that, potential benefits would less than promised but more than  the current (even with inflation adjustment).

          Social Security is not in deep problem. There is "baby boom" pressure comming, but this problem can be dealt without drastic measures and big noise. We should make this point somehow, otherwise the SS case is hopeless.

          •  We need to make this case better than we have (none)
            You wrote: "There is "baby boom" pressure comming, but this problem can be dealt without drastic measures and big noise. We should make this point somehow, otherwise the SS case is hopeless."

            OK, I will buy that, but I don't think the democrats have addressed the issue of the baby boom pressure rewally clearly. First, if the administration is exagerating the baby boom issue, democrats in return haven't done much to call their bluff. Second, we need to lay out clearly what our suggested "non-drastic" measures might be.

            "We have already failed. Staying in longer makes us fail worse." -Three star Lt. General William Odom (retired), former head of National Security Agency

            by FightOn on Thu Jan 13, 2005 at 09:12:01 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Democrats did not call the bluff, indeed (none)
              Gore and Kerry said nothing clear about SS future.  Since no one argued for 4 years (because of "politics") that SS might be OK after all, no wonder that folks are concerned now.

              Now we already have good arguments in the defence of SS. An important work is to find ways to present them better. But (apart from the silence of dems) the biggest problem is that TV pundits and the government do everything that those arguments and facts would be unknown. Just visit of the last month, and you will see how TV and press comentators push only the GOP story, and completely ignore "inconvenient" facts. Someone has to say at least once the simple fact that SS survived without problems the employees/retirees ratio drop from 16 to 3.

              There are few things to do in this debate, but explaining your own "non-drastic" measures is not the most urgent. Especially if your view is that SS faring reasonably well. There are 2 most elementary points to make clear:

              1. What is the extend of the "crisis"? Is it really so serious as Bush preaches? What "bankrupcy"? The worst we may have in 2050 is that SS will be able to pay just 80% of promised benefits, which would still be nominally more than current benefits. (Actually, there must have been a big burden of proof for the fearmonging of conservatives. For God's sake, global climate is declining fast while the SS fund is still many years away from shrinking; yet the public still has no concern of climate while it is "sure" about SS.)

              2. How will the measure of republicans work? Will they really ensure that today's "young workers" will get a better deal? Actually, Bush's proposals ma have really bad consequences. Their polic would inflate stock markets (a short-time bubble success), but when the "baby boom presure" comes, it will pressure those stock markets enormously. Not only retirees will get lesser value of their savings, stock markets will be pushed down.

              The most rational "non-drastic measure" now would be monito demographic situation, gather better information and make more informed prognozes. We better "reform" SS only if we really need that.  That may be a tough sell in the current political climate, some concern demonstrations would be necessary.
              •  Bill Clinton was for the Bush reform... (none)
                At a Dec. 3, 2002, conference of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council, Bill Clinton said:

                "If you don't like privatizing Social Security, and I don't like it very much, but you want to do something to try to increase the rate of return [on Social Security assets], what are your options? Well, one thing you could do is to give people 1 or 2 percent of the payroll tax, with the same options the federal employees have with their retirement accounts, where you have three mutual funds that almost always perform as well or better than the market"--which means much better than the return on Social Security revenues that buy government bonds as I.O.U.s--"and a fourth option to buy government bonds, so you get the guaranteed Social Security return and a hundred percent safety just like you have with Social Security."

                "We have already failed. Staying in longer makes us fail worse." -Three star Lt. General William Odom (retired), former head of National Security Agency

                by FightOn on Fri Jan 14, 2005 at 09:34:21 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  personal savings account (none)
      they do. It's called an IRA, a 401k, 403b, etc. You put in pre-tax money.

      But SS is definite. The returns on an IRA aren't.

      Ask those who planned to retire but now can't because the stock market tanked a few years ago and still isn't back where it was. It may be YEARS before it's back where it was.

      And most of them will be boomers, or slightly older. They know how much of a hit they took, how much they lost.

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