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View Diary: Paul Ryan's Roadmap to nowhere (132 comments)

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  •  Long comment coming (5+ / 0-)

    Read if you wish.

    Ryan's Roadmap looks exactly like the Deborah Pryce-Rick Santorum Saving Social Security - A Guide to Social Security Reform, which looks exactly like the monograph Achieving a "Lennist" Strategy by Stuart Butler and Peter Germanis which was published by the CATO Institute in 1983.  This document is a summary of a 600 page paper Mr. Peter Ferrara created as an law student at Harvard around 1980.

    All of this comes from the intellectal center of Republican economic thought, Mr. Milton Friedman, which was published in his 1962 book Capitalism and Freedom, which published in one place a series of lectures he gave in 1956.

    This leads me to my frequent statement that the Republicans have not had a new idea since 1956, when, if you examine the Republican legislative and economic program which has been largely implemented by Nixon, Reagan, Bush 41, Bush 43, and has simultaneously left our economy in ruins.  I will say it again, the Republicans have not had a new idea since 1956.

    Looking at the linked documents above, it is easy to see that the Republican Plan to since 1956 has been to split the over 55 population away from the under 55 population, and to continue guaranteed benefits for those over 55, which is intended to soften up resistance to privatization, and explicitly stated in Butler and Germanis, and to foist privatization on the younger Social Security participants, who may not be as keyed in or as cognizant of retirement income issues as someone nearing retirement age.  Essentially, this is an explicitly stated political wedge, and to specifically develop a strategy to "weaken oposition".

    So how does Mr. Ryan's "Plan" differ from these explicitly stated plans to privatize (read Destroy) Social Security.  Mr. Ryan's plan still has that magic number of splitting the under 55's from the over 55's:

    Personal Choice in Retirement Accounts. Beginning in 2012, the proposal allows each worker younger than 55 to shift a portion of his or her Social Security payroll tax payment into a personal retirement account, chosen from a group of investment funds approved by the government (see below). When fully phased in, the personal accounts will average 5.1 percentage points of the current 12.4-percent Social Security payroll tax.

    The personal investment component is phased in to allow a smooth transition. Initially, workers are allowed to invest 2 percent of their first $10,000 of annual payroll into personal accounts, and 1 percent of annual payroll above that up to the Social Security earnings limit. The $10,000 level will be indexed for inflation. After 10 years, the amount that workers can invest will be increased to 4 percent up to the inflation-adjusted level, and 2 percent above that. After 10 more years, these amounts will be increased to 6 percent and 3 percent. Eventually, by 2042, workers will be able to invest 8 percent up to the inflation-adjustment level, and 4 percent of payroll above that, for an account averaging 5.1 percent.

    The choice of personal retirement accounts is entirely voluntary. Even those under 55 can remain in the current system if they choose. Further, those who choose to enter the personal account system also have an opportunity to leave the system, and those who initially opt out of the system of personal accounts can enter into it later on.

    To summarize, Mr. Ryan's "New" Roadmap plan looks just like, in its essence, Mr. Friedman's 1956 plan, Mr. Ferrara's 1980 plan, Butler and Germanis' 1883 plan, and Pryce/Santorum's 2006 plan, with a new dress and lipstick on the pig/bulldog.  Also please note that "approved by the government" is code for having government select, by making certain investments "approved" vs other investments which are "not approved", puts some bureaucrat, a political appointment with the omnipotent power to select winners and losers in the economy, which looks to be a very corporatist, even to some degree socialist approach to investment.  In effect, this plan puts a government entity in the business of routinely buying and selling equities, which will be held in a government account, or a back door way to have the government in control of the means of production.  It may put pressure on Boards of Directors to influence policy at private companies, such as pensions, union labor contracts, outsourcing and the like, to prevent the government entity which "approves" investments from dumping their stock, which can put executive and board members jobs at risk.  I see nothing in any of these proposals that could prevent that from happening.  Do you?

    Once again it is up to we Democrats, and our Democratic representatives in Congress and our Democratic President to stand up and defend Social Security once and for all time.  If we have to increase the cap above $106 k in wages, so be it.  I don't believe it will affect more than the 2 or 3 per cent of Americans who can most easily afford it.  If it takes something else, like an increase in the payroll tax rate, coupled an increase in the cap, so be it.  If the federal government wants to keep borrowing from the SS fund, then they should be required to pay a higher rate for access to those funds.  Returning America to a full employement economy will do more for ending any SS gap than anything else.  How about making the 12 million illegal immigrants fully subject to SS withholding and eligibility when they are put on an arduous citizenship track, that will help.

    It will be easy enough to find the resources to make Social Security solvent for all time if our elected officials will find the courage and resolve to do that which is right, and quit pandering to a few millionaires and corporate masters.  Congress, get with the program.  Democrats, elect enough Democrats to move this thing to a proper resolution in November of 2010.  Show the backbone.  Stand up to the right wing crazies.  Do your job.

    Republicans are like alligators. All mouth and no ears.

    by Ohiodem1 on Sun Aug 15, 2010 at 11:17:33 AM PDT

    •  My post above may have gone a little OT, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bleeding heart, maryabein

      but Social Security is the second element in the "Roadmap", Medicare funding comes through SS, and I believe that the two are inextricibly linked, because if you kill one, you will certainly kill the other.  This is a Radical Republican's greatest dream, and we liberal-progressives' worst nightmare.

      Republicans are like alligators. All mouth and no ears.

      by Ohiodem1 on Sun Aug 15, 2010 at 11:32:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Spot on (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bleeding heart, Ohiodem1

      unfortunately the Randians (in both parties) are not
      going away any time soon.  So we get to throw gobs of
      money and resources to wars and the mic while gutting
      the social structure of the country.  And so it will
      be a fight until they win a "small victory" as in the
      mid 80's and another "small victory" circa 2011, until
      the safety net is a goner.  

    •  Your comment needs to be in Wash. Post! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bleeding heart, Ohiodem1

      What a succinct summary of GOP fail since 1958.

      When life gives you wingnuts, make wingnut butter!

      by antirove on Sun Aug 15, 2010 at 01:11:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Great comment, OD1. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DBunn, Ohiodem1

      And the "wedge" that's being driven isn't just related to SS, IMHO. I've seen far too many baby boomer vs. millenium food fights around here, just like back when it was "don't trust anyone over 30." So, to the list of wars this country is voluntarily waging, kindly add "generational wars."

      You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else. -- Sir Winston Churchill

      by bleeding heart on Mon Aug 16, 2010 at 08:05:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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