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[cross-posted from Frameshop -JF]

CALL TO ACTION

The following social program is danger of being destroyed:
Social Security

If you or someone you know have plans to grow old in this country, please go immediately to Frameshop for advice and motivation.

WARNINGS:
Failure to save Social Security will result in a rapid return to poverty and debt amongst the elderly in this country.

Failure to fight for Social Security will lead to the total dismantling of all remaining social programs and the destruction of health, welfare and environment for generations.

TAKE ACTION NOW

---

Frameshop is open.




[Typically, Frameshop is a place to discuss langauge and it's meaning.  Today, it's a meeting space to discuss and launch a plan of action. --JF]



Plan of Action
Many able-bodied mechanics already stopped by Frameshop to help repair the Con phrase "Personal Retirement Account" (PRA).  Feel free to take another look at that discussion, as it was helpful.  Now we need to act.    Here is my suggested plan:
  1. Flag problem words
  2. Craft a clear message
  3. Focus dKos diaries on message
  4. Launch message to press contacts
  5. Target message at government
  6. Amplify message to the public
  7. Follow up

Time frame:  I suggest we think of this project as taking one week.

Currently, Ohio is dominating the diaries.  That's understandable as a senior member of the House of  Representatives (Conyers) is now leading an initiative on this subject.

By this time next week, let's make sure the diaries are tipped more towards talk of saving Social Security.  

Getting the fight for Social Security into the press and the public eye will be Frameshop's holiday card to America.

Make no mistake:  George W. Bush is going to use Christmas to sneak in a Social Security proposal.  Let's make sure that everyone in this country is prepared.  

1.Problem Word  List
I suggest that we stick with this very short list of problem phrases:


  • Privatization
  • Personal Retirement Accounts
  • Social Security in Crisis

All these phrases are based on the Con logic  that good people manage their own  money, while bad people need help from others.

This is wrong.

Progressive logic states that good people help each other by contributing to the well-being of community and by looking after those in need.

To save security we should:

  • Stay calm (don't throw out the baby with the bathwater)
  • Stop wreckless government borrowing
  • Promote a culture of savings
  • Invest in the US economy

2. Our Message
I suspect that many of you will choose to craft your own message.  Frameshop mechanics are headstrong and independent.  

Here's a starting point:


DATE: 12.5.04
TO: Editor, Senator, Concerned Citizens
RE: Bush's War on Social Security

Ordinary Americans, weary of terrorism and a bad economy, now face a new threat:   George W. Bush's war on Social Security.

They say a sucker is born every day.  Don't be fooled.  

Social Security is not in such an immediate crisis that it will soon collapse.   The crisis is the attack on Social Security by George W. Bush.

Privatization will not "help" Social Security. Instead, it will cost taxpayers trillions.  We should not dig ourselves deeper into debt to pay for George W. Bush's scheme to privatize Social Security.  

Instead, we should strengthen Social Security by reducing our debt,  promoting a culture of savings, and investing in US schools and businesses.

"Personal Retirement Accounts" will not help seniors live a better life.  

Instead, they will force seniors to expose their hard-earned savings to the risks of predatory markets, heaping windfall profits on wealthy Republican donors.

Instead, we should manage government spending, reduce our national debt, and invest in our economy.

Say "No!" to George W. Bush's "Personal Retirement Account" proposal.  A President who spends us into debt, then blames it on our seniors, should not be trusted to manage our future.

If Bush wins his war against Social Security it will bankrupt our children's future.

Insure this country's future; fight for Social Security .

3. Focus the dKos Diaries
My suggestion for diaries on this subject are as follows:

Monitor All Bush Language:  The language in the War on Social Security may shift over the next few days/weeks.  All eyes on the media.  Let's split up.  On average, we have at least 50 people who stop by Frameshop.  IF everyone reads one or two sources, we should be able to keep track of the language. No need to post a huge , long analytical diary.  Just flag the language as it's being used, where it's being used and what's wrong with it.  Keep the phrase "Bush's War on Social Security" the focus of the postings.  

Post LTEs and places to send them:  We need everyone to pool their government and media contacts to get this message out.  Many of you have good contact lists.  Start posting diaries that direct people to the memo (above) and where/how to get them out.  We need House Rep emails, friendly editors, and responsive reporters first.  Next, we need to get this message to local community leaders.  Your pastor or rabbi has email?  Get it out.

Stay Positive:  We want some of that energy in the Ohio protest for this effort.  We need it.  Don't write inflamatory diaries attackign other Kossacks in the name of saving Social Security.  Be conciliatory.  Try to attract one other person into this fight, then two, then five.  A unififed dKos diary movement will be powerful.  Remember out timeframe:  by this time next week, we want this issue to dominate the diaries.  It won't happen in five minutes.  Give the Ohio fight it's space, too.  

Sell, Don't Yell:   The best way to get this  message out is through patient, deliberate repetition of our message.  Bullhorns won't work.  The average age of most dKos diarists is probably around 25.  To be heard by seniors, we must sound smart and passionate, not angry and rude.  Be persistant during the Holidays.

4-6. Launch Message:  Government, Press, Public
Ideally, we will get this message out to every single Democratic member of Congress, every single Democratic state rep, and every Democratic municipal rep.  Next, we hit every sympathetic press outlet.  I think our key target should be Keith Olberman.

After Olberman, we take it to the kitchen table.

Getting this in the public eye/ear will require personal email and taking an agenda into holiday conversations.

It's OK to lust for a Sony Playstation and still want to talk about saving Social Security.  We are all human.  But it's not OK to squander your holiday visit to your family by not spreading this message at the kitchen table.  And it's not OK to spend all of your time at home hiding out in dKos.  Take the message and spread it face-to-face.

Then, report back on every level of this work.  My most productive diary work to date was at home during Thanksgiving.  

7. Follow Up
We will regroup in a week to see how things are going.

Now get to work!  I mean, "Please" get to work...

Update [2004-12-15 21:47:51 by Jeffrey Feldman]: A very helpful suggestion from Paul Rosenberg in the comments:

"Social Security is not in such an immediate crisis that it will soon collapse." It's much more powerful, and accurate to say: "Social Security is in no immediate crisis, and may not need any tinkering to be fully funded, if our economy performs at historically normal levels. Conservative economic forecasts indicate the wisdom of considering relatively minor adjustment, in case our economy doesn't do so well, but even then the system is fully solvent far into the future--plenty of time to make and phase in gradual adjustments whose consequences have been thoroughly thought out."
Please keep this "cluster" of ideas in mind.

Originally posted to Jeffrey Feldman on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 08:30 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Let's get this done (4.00)
    There's a ton of positive energy here in the diaries.  Let's use it to take back this issue...
    •  One thought (none)
      I think we need to also work in to our message somehow that the Bush plan represents, literally, billions of dollars in giveaways -- EVERY YEAR -- to financial institutions who will reap the benefits of "transaction fees" that are unavailable to them with social security. Just another "corporate giveaway" by the Bush Administration, that promotes a culture of corporate welfare.

      Old man wants to be rich/Rich man wants to be king/And a king ain't satisfied until he rules everything

      by bigskiphazzy on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 10:34:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wall Street Lobbyists pushing for privatization? (none)
        Just occured to me last night. Surely there are investment firms lobbying for privatization. Does anyone know how to do a lobbyist lookup to see who they could be?
    •  Wait a minute: "saving" Social Security? (none)
      Just by talking about "saving" Social Security, you are falling into the language of the opposing side.  Isn't that what "framing" is all about?

      The opposition claims that there is a Social Security "crisis," that it will soon implode, and something must be done.  Implied is the claim that the whole idea of Social Security is defective and unworkable.  Otherwise why do we need to shore it up and bail it out and "save" it?

      "Save" is too dramatic.  Social Security is not about to drown.  It is not about to collapse. There's nothing inherently wrong with it. It does need to be maintained, which will cost a comparatively reasonable amount of money.

      Suppose a car dealer warned you of this looming "crisis":  your current car has less than 10000 miles before the engine craps out, unless "something is done."  Sure, something like a regular oil change, right?  That's not a crisis, and your car doesn't need to be saved from impending doom.  To use such dramatic language turns a non-problem into a problem---which, of course, the dealer will want to solve for you.

      Caj

      •  great point (none)
        We have to vet every pertinent term that we use in these upcoming battles.

        Old man wants to be rich/Rich man wants to be king/And a king ain't satisfied until he rules everything

        by bigskiphazzy on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 01:16:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Strengthen Soc Sec (none)
        Or even Secure Social Security!

        I think in part "Save SS"
         means saving it from Bush and the GOP.  But it is susceptible to the interpretation that it is financially oinsolvent or some such nonsense.

        If you're going in the wrong direction and you stay the course, where, exactly, do you wind up?

        by Mimikatz on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 01:26:10 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  DEFEND Social Security--From GOP Attacks! (none)
        Excellent point. Get's a '4' from me. Some alternatives that come to mind:

        We need to:

        • Defend Social Security--From GOP Attacks!
        • Protect Social Security--From Enron-style privatizers.
        • Preserve Social Security--so that today's children won't have to take care of their parents when they should be saving for their own children's eduction.

        Operation 'Fool Me Once' -- Targeting Papers That Endorsed Bush in 2000

        by Paul Rosenberg on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 01:31:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Great! (none)
          It's so good, I need to repeat it:

          Protect Social Security--From Enron-style privatizers.
          Preserve Social Security--so that today's children won't have to take care of their parents when they should be saving for their own children's eduction.

          This is key.  What a great comment.

          This is about protecting and preserving Social Security for future generations.

    •  Best "framing" diary ever Jeffrey (none)
      Kudos!

      "You don't lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case." - Ken Kesey

      by Glinda on Thu Dec 16, 2004 at 06:25:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Keep up the good work (none)
    The Republicans are trying to end social security.
    •  Not on our watch (none)
      If we can get this message into the press by Christmas, we should be able to at the very least do  some damage to the PRA proposal.

      (Ursula Le Guin fan?)

      •  Left hand of Darkness and Earthsea particularly (none)
        But the map is from radar data of venus.
      •  Take Your Own Advice, Jeff (none)
        It's not a PRA proposal. It's privatization of social security, which is, in fact, a total dismantling.

        Even Frank Luntz has said the GOP loses on the word privatization. That's why their "ownership society" will attempt to "personalize" it instead. That's the sidestep we cannot allow.

        For the wonky-est among us, it may need to be said that social security for retirees exists as a conservative bedrock - like an investment in treasuries (which it effectively is), it produces a small but reliable revenue stream. While not enough to retire on comfortably (sigh), together with one or more of the following, it serves one well as a part of an overall retirement scheme.

        • Accumulated real property asset(s)
        • IRA(s)
        • 401(k), 403(b) and similar private savings vehicles
        • annuities, non-term life insurance, and similar
        • privately funded pension plans

        (Now for the big finish ...)

        When Bush hits the streets with his privatization scheme ("scheme" is a good word; so is scam for the already converted), the Dems would be wise to trumpet a demand for, and propose legislation to, strengthen funding requirements for the already woefully underfunded pension plans that are in crisis now. The real game afoot is an attempt to get the GOP's backers who've shortchanged their pension funds (some for over a decade) off the hook. This one is a solid PEOPLE v. POWERFUL case that satisfies every framing angle we could hope for (though it does, sadly, depend on bold action by our beltway dems).

        vote early - vote often

        by wystler on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 12:47:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Right (4.00)
      and we need to steal a page from their playbook and fill the airwaves with the same kind of hyperbolic sky-is-falling language they use:

      "The Republicans are trying to MURDER Social Security!"
      "They want to take benefits away from seniors!"
      "They want to GAMBLE with Americans' retirement money!"
      "We cannot allow them to GUT Social Security in this way!"

      I do believe we need to get the message out that the SS "crisis" is not as dire as the media's been playing it, but it's more important for us to attack the Repug position vehemently.

      If you're going to be lonely, you might as well be beautiful.

      by vancookie on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 10:01:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Phase-out not Reform (none)
      This is the number one task.  Bush is not trying to "reform" social security but to PHASE IT OUT.  (When will the Dems ever learn?  It is not "tort reform" either--it is "tort retrenchment.")

      Second, Social Security is not "broken" or "endangered."  It just needs a few tweaks, like having the cap raised and maybe the retirement age raised a little bit.  Kevin Drum has been very good on this.  Besides, no other gov't program has to justify its "unfunded liabilities."  Where is the stable funding source for Bush's wars in Iraq and elsewhere?  For future defense budgets period?  

      Third, we need to focus on the LOST OPPORTUNITIES.  If Bush wants to borrow $2 trillion to phase out Soc Sec, we need to talk about what else we could do with the money that would be more beneficial.  (Rebuild infrastructure = more jobs; beef up police, fire, teachers etc = more jobs; improve health care etc.)

      Fourth, we need to focus on how Bush is making retirement (and life generally) less secure for everyone (but the very, very rich) by undoing the safety net.  

      Finally, the math just doesn't add up.  There is no way to 1) borrow money to make up for the part of payroll taxes that go to the private accounts, so that we can continue to pay benefits to today's retirees; 2) gain enough in the stock market to make up for the loss in payroll tax revenue in the future; 3) avoid cutting back on benefots to those who are successful in the market to help out those who aren't and 4) give people accounts they can borrow against and leave to their children if they die early and avoid withdrawing even more money out of the system.  

      Just think about that last one.  Today, when someone dies prematurely and doesn't collect any or much of their SS benefits, it goes back into the system.  If it could be left to heirs, that just draws more money out of the system.  This is a giant con!

      Young folks, there is no more sure way to have NO SS than to support privitization.  If you want an account that is yours, start saving now, and you will have just that; it's that simple.  SS is a guarnateed minimum for everyone.  That is its function.   It is something that the govt or the market or a company can't take away.  Understand that, and you will understand why it is popular, particularly in the age of Enron, cashed out pension plans, and uncertain markets.

      If you're going in the wrong direction and you stay the course, where, exactly, do you wind up?

      by Mimikatz on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 10:32:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  How's this for a kitchen table frame? (none)
    I'd like my grandparents to be able to grow old in their own house. I'm half convinced I'll never see a SS check for myself, as I'm pretty young, but I will gladly pay into it as long as its still around because my grandparents deserve it.

    Privatizing it is like rent control. Its bad for the community, and only a select few benefit.

    •  Great...but (none)
      no need to sacrifice yourself for your grandparents (although, the sentiment is noble and Progressive).

      We will see social security checks so long as we prevent the Cons from bankrupting the federal government.

      This country got through the depression!  We can get through this fiscal hiccup, too.

      Reduce debt.
      Culture of savings.
      Invest in America.

      Honestly, though, when you're home you should follow your gut. What's most important is raising the issue.  And you should trust your instincts about the best way to connect with your family.

      •  Bankrupting? (none)
        Like they've been in the process of doing  for the last several years? You realize the national debt is now measured in trillions, right? That's an easy word to say, but look at the actual numerical value of a trillion.

        1,000,000,000,000

        All so they can give more money to Halliburton and KBR.

        Ugh. Sorry. I don't mean to sound so pissed off, and actually, I'm usually an optimist. I'm just losing my hope for a better future with every day that passes.

        Thanks for your encouragement.

        We got more news from the MSM about the Ukraine election than our own, we're regarded as dissidents for asking questions, and my wife just informed me she's pregnant. I can't help but be pissed off about the future my kid may get stuck with, just because I'm not a CEO.

    •  That's actually pretty awful (4.00)
      You have let yourself be Hannitized. Where did you get the idea you will never see a SS check? Too much Faux News or too much MSM misinformation.

      Please proceed to the Daily Howler for re-education: linked text and linked text and the Washington Monthly for easy to understand graphs linked text

    •  Why is rent control bad for the community? (none)
      Without it in NYC, numerous elderly people would be turned out of their apartments. Rent stabilization (a different program) makes it possible for middle class people to be able to live in NYC and either break even or maybe even have a bit of savings.
      •  Read up on it (none)
        http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/RentControl.html

        Money quote:

        Economists are virtually unanimous in the conclusion that rent controls are destructive. In a late-seventies poll of 211 economists published in the May 1979 issue of American Economic Review, slightly more than 98 percent of U.S. respondents agreed that "a ceiling on rents reduces the quantity and quality of housing available." Similarly, the June 1988 issue of Canadian Public Policy reported that over 95 percent of the Canadian economists polled agreed with the statement. The agreement cuts across the usual political spectrum, ranging all the way from Nobel Prize winners Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek on the "right" to their fellow Nobel Laureate Gunnar Myrdal, an important architect of the Swedish Labor Party's welfare state, on the "left." Myrdal stated, "Rent control has in certain Western countries constituted, maybe, the worst example of poor planning by governments lacking courage and vision." Fellow Swedish economist (and socialist) Assar Lindbeck, asserted, "In many cases rent control appears to be the most efficient technique presently known to destroy a city--except for bombing."

        •  Off-Topic, But Simple Warning (4.00)
          This is not from a neutral, objective site, as one can readily see by scaning the books they have in their book section.

          So let's save this discussion for another diary, okay?

          Operation 'Fool Me Once' -- Targeting Papers That Endorsed Bush in 2000

          by Paul Rosenberg on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 09:17:45 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thank you (none)
            I'll look for more info about the positive side of it. I've only taken one serious econ class, and the professor's arguments on this point were pretty convincing, and backed up by the (little) outside reading I've done on it. This is the only side of it I've heard, so when I went looking for info, I just googled "rent control economics."

            It was just the first thing that popped into my head as I read the Frameshop today.

            If you'd like to talk more, e-mail me. Tuf7303 AT aol DOT com.

          •  Off-Off Topic... (none)
            I've read other diaries about the Commerce Clause and how so much rides on the post 1937 interpretations of it. I get the Civil Rights and Wage & Labor connections, but I can't seem to find anything that ties the Social Security Act to the Commerce Clause. Am I missing something?

            I'm asking you because you providing many insights re: 2nd Amendment.

            thanks

            Oh if there's an original thought out there, I could use it right now. -Dylan

            by timerigger on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 10:16:45 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Sorry, I Don't Know (none)
              "I can't seem to find anything that ties the Social Security Act to the Commerce Clause. Am I missing something?"

              I wish I could help, but I don't know anything that could help. I should, because you're right to think it's becoming increasingly important. Please let me know (rad / gte / net) if you find anything.

              Operation 'Fool Me Once' -- Targeting Papers That Endorsed Bush in 2000

              by Paul Rosenberg on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 11:43:45 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  What about landlords? (none)
        I don't know whether it is bad for the community but it certainly is bad for landlords. Can you honestly say it should be someone who owns a small building that alone subsidizes someones rent?

        I am all for helping but we should all pay not someone who happens to own a building.

        A stupid man's vote means as much as a wise man's

        by tchoup on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 03:16:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I guess I'm still a communist at heart! (none)
          I never think of the landlord as the little guy. Be interesting to see the statistics in NYC. How many rent-controlled (and rent stabilized)apartments are not owned by corporations, developers, educational institutions, or individuals that own hundreds of properties througout the city, &c., i.e., how many small- time landlords there are who own rent controlled or rent stabilized. My guess in NYC is not that many.
          •  Still quite a few (none)
            Remember its all the boroughs, not just Manhattan. There are a lot of families that own home/investment. Small buildings with an owners unit. Really small buildings are exempt. Can't remember where it starts at, I think its 6 units. In any case its a sneaky way to tax very few people for the benefit of very few people. Good motives but lousy implementation. I am all for the motive. And no my house is exempt.

            A stupid man's vote means as much as a wise man's

            by tchoup on Thu Dec 16, 2004 at 03:12:32 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  How about... (4.00)
      Keep the SECURITY in Social Security.
    •  You've bought into the con (4.00)
      in assuming that SS is just for retirement.  

      Do you work?  Do you have little kids?  Do you expect to be working and/or have little kids sometime before 2052.  If so then you need to know that if you become disable SS will make payments to you or if you die, SS will make payments to your kids so that your family may be able to avoid crushing poverty.

      I had a friend, a working father, who died of brain cancer at age 42.  Left behind an 8 and an 11 year old.  Both will get SS payments until the age of maturity.  It will make all the difference in their lives.  In his case, Soc Security turned out to be life insurance he bought for his kids.  For those working parents who think nothing is going to happen to them or who can't or won't buy life insurance to protect their minor kids.  Social security protects their kids from their parent's bad judgment at the parent's expense - sounds good to me.

      Social Security - it's there for you in ways you don't even know about.

      •  Exactly. (none)
        SS benefits are a way to help people who've had something unexpected happen that affects their financial livelihood.  It pays out if you've been severely disabled and can no longer work, if your breadwinner dies, it pays out to survivors (for instance, my sister and I received benefits as teenagers when my dad passed away), and it pays for medical care for the elderly in addition to retirement payments.

        That it helps the impoverished elderly should be enough to fight for it, but the wide range of people the system is created to assist makes it crucial.

        /The cola manufacturer is sponsoring the war/ And now for something non-political.

        by HeatherMG on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 09:35:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Didn't buy the con (none)
        I was aware of the other side of it. I just know what'll work with my family.

        We're all growed up, so the insurance thing is unlikely to convince my republican dad (though, like I said, I'm gonna be a dad soon, so it's a big deal to me). But he loves his parents and wants them to keep their dignity and self respect.

        •  I Bought the Con! (none)
          In High School, 1985, our Business teacher taught us all that SS was a ponzi scheme that will eventually collapse. Then he read us real news stories of real ponzi schemes where the creator left town once people caught onto his racket.

          I am saying this is what we're up against, how many others like Tuffy, myself were indoctrinated at a young age and have that nagging notion that we will never see a SS check?

    •  Grandma shouldn't have to eat catfood ... (4.00)
      because she spent her time teaching nursery school and knitting cute hats for chemo patients instead of reading the Wall Street Journal.
  •  Attack their propaganda techiniques (4.00)
    Conservatives have already cranked up their propaganda machine. Since you asked for LTEs, this is one I sent to the O.C. Register attacking the labels of editorials by Rich Lowry and David Brooks. Orange County CA is a hopeless case and my LTE will probably never see the light of day except here.  FWIW:

    In Rich Lowry's editorial "Young People Be Damned! The Greedy AARP" he accuses AARP of being "a certain greedy, scare mongering, reactionary lobby group", because they sent out a message of some sort warning of benefit cuts and Wall Street profiteering. Not content with the usual labels, in his editorial "Real Reform for Social Security", David Brooks accuses critics of President Bush's Social Security reform of conspiracyism and Michael Moore-ism. I'm relieved to see conservatives are getting the debate over Social Security reform off to such a civil beginning. Is there any doubt that accusations of socialism and communism are far behind?

    Since I don't have a clue what President Bush's unreleased reform bill actually says, let alone know what it will look like after Congress gets finished with it, I have three simple questions. (1) How many hours are  our lawmakers going to be granted to read the final bill before they are required to vote on it? (2) Are OMB actuaries going to be threatened with dismissal if they reveal the results of the cost/benefit analysis of the legislation?  (3) Is there any reason not to expect another fiscal abomination like the Medicare Prescription Drug bill?   At the risk of being inflammatory, and being accused of being un-American or a Bush hater, allow me to ask one final question. Has either this Congress or this administration given us any reason to expect a free and open debate on the merits of whatever proposal is finally unveiled?

    •  It's a great letter (none)
      And a noble cause in Orange County.  I'm sure there are tons of people in Newport Beach just looking for someone to lead them into the fight to save Social Security.   They just don't realize it yet.
    •  The Attack On Old People Is An Opening (none)
      The cons want to focus on AARP, of course. Even though it's become a GOP tool, it's still not a total tool, and it's very useful as a bogey man. So don't let them frame it that way.

      They are promoting generational warfare.

      Social Security isn't just for old people. As already mentioned, it's also life insurance. But even when it is for old people, it's also for their children and grandchildren as well.

      When grandma is on Social Security, that means daurhter can pay for grand-daughter to go to college. So it's an intergenerational social insurance program.

      Pretending otherwise is generational warfare, pitting parents against children, and grandparents against grandchildren. Who would do such a thing?!

      This is not theoretical, folks. Just ask someone. "Well, if your parents didn't have Social Security, how would you pay for your children to go to college? How would you pay for them to go to the doctor?"

      Operation 'Fool Me Once' -- Targeting Papers That Endorsed Bush in 2000

      by Paul Rosenberg on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 09:40:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Josh Marshall hits just the right note today. (none)
    Republicans are trying to phase out Social Security.
    •  "Phase out" (none)
      That is exactly the truth and we need to use that term every chance we get.

      Any Google wizards able to put together quotes from prominent Rs saying SS should be abolished.  We should build a list.  Surely Grover Norquist has said a thing or two.

    •  I dissent (none)
      PHASE OUT is a rather gentle phrase. It's often used to ease pain.

      Why not call a spade a spade? They're trying to DESTROY Social Security by making all of us perform without a net.

      vote early - vote often

      by wystler on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 01:01:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Various Ideas (none)
    Here's some random ideas I've been contemplating regarding SS.

    • So the Republicans want to privatize SS, allowing us to take more control, requiring all citizens to be investors.  Obviously, not all citezens are good investors, so what happens to those that mismanage their private accounts?  Are we, as a nation, willing to say "too bad, you don't know how to invest, therefore you deserve to die penniless?"  This should never be

    • SS works by having a large percentage of the populace (people under a certain age) paying into a system with smaller percentage of the populace (people over a certain age) reaping the benefits.  The problem is that the age stays the same, but the percentages change as lifespan increases.  One solution may be to change the age based off of the census, trying to maintain a break-even point with the percentages.  Change the age gradually to avoid somebody counting on the benefits from missing the cutoff continually, but change the age.  This should be a viable option, at least for discussion.

    • Investing SS money into the market is not a good idea.  Thats what 401k's and IRA's are for.  SS needs to be separate.  If the market crashes, SS should be the safety net, since all other retirement options will most likely be destroyed.  In fact, there should be only a small amount of SS money, the goal should be income == payments, as mentioned previously, based upon age / percentages, with a small buffer for fluctuations.

    Strength without wisdom is a chimera, resolve without competence a travesty. - David Neiwert

    by SleepyG on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 08:48:31 AM PST

    •  Yes, they are two different things. (4.00)
      Social Security is INSURANCE.  It is something entirely different than your 401K which is INVESTING.

      A few random thoughts:

      Can you imagine if we decided to let people invest part of their auto insurance, and then the payout depends on how well they invested?  It just doesn't make sense.

      Instead, they could just create a government-mandated 401K that everybody has to contribute a portion of their income to.  Then, reduce their social security payout by the amount they are expected to have.

      When you realize how little you are going to be investing, you then realize what a ridiculous scheme the whole thing is.

      •  Good Commercial (none)
        Have two guys talk about this new "ownership society" auto insurance plan!!

        Small print announcer at the end says that "policians" and "Wall Street lobbyists in Washington" are trying to privatize another type of insurance, SS.

  •  Definitely need to take this on -- it's OURS (none)
    There is nothing secure for society in turning one's money over to Wall Street.

    There is nothing secure about taking on more debt.

    Social Security = security for our society, get it?

    Obviously this has been bugging me quite a bit.  We have to implement Sarbanes-Oxley to get Wall Street back on the straight and narrow but we're going to go into massive debt and turn it all over to the same folks who need a big whip to keep them honest?

    Yikes.  This should be all ours, period.  It was ours in FDR's day:

    (From FDR's 1933 inaugural speech-)

    ...Primarily this is because rulers of the exchange of mankind's goods have failed, through their own stubbornness and incompetence...They know only the rules of a generation of self-seekers...there must be an end to a conduct in banking and in business which too often has given to a sacred trust the likeness of a callous and selfish wrongdoing...we now realize as we have never realised before our interdependences on each other; that we can not merely take but we must give as well; that if we are to go forward, we must move as a trained and loyal army willing to sacrifice for the good of a common discipline, because without such discipline no progress is made, no leadership becomes effective.  We are, I know, ready and willing to submit our lives and property to such discipline, because it makes possible a leadership which aims at a larger good..."

    Yeah.  What is that sacrifice that any of those folks in the offices of the POTUS and VPOTUS have really made on behalf of the common discipline and the larger good?  Moral values, my eye!

  •  Saving Social Security ... (none)
    Every single Democrat from here on out should include the following line whenever talk of Social Security comes up:

    "Mend it, don't end it."  

    AND whenever we see an something in a reputable news outlet about how Social Security is in crisis, we need to shoot an email to the editors talking about how they are being played ... as Social Security has enough money to pay out benefits completely until 2052, and then it will pay approximately 75% of the benefits owed folks ... (this is due to the fact that the surplus will be gone) and will pay out what it receives to seniors.  

    •  But it wouldn't *need* mending. . . (none)
      . . .if the Republicans hadn't gutted the Treasury.

      The SSA will be completely solvent through 2042, perhaps even 2052 - WITH NO CHANGES.

      And even then, they'd be looking at providing over 70% of the benefits they now do - WITH NO CHANGES.

      Even the most modest changes - a gradual increase in the cap, a gradual shift of retirement age, some modest indexing for folks with "other retirement income" - would allow the SSA to continue full steam.

      The problem is other government spending, which is out of control. They've been spending our Social Security payments on the Iraq War, and on tax breaks for the wealthy.

      So, the real problem is Enron Accounting. They've been hiding the true scope of their theft from the Treasury, by counting SS payments as general income that can be spent on anything. The main government owes bushels of money to Social Security, and now that they don't know how to pay for it, they're putting the blame on the very program that's been helping to finance their excesses.

      When only the govemment lacks virtue, there remains a resource in the people's virtue; but when the people itself is corrupted, liberty is already lost.

      by Robespierrette on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 09:41:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Social Security is more solvent than the US Gov't! (none)
        Social Security runds out of mone (by conservative assumptions) in 2042.

        But the US Government itself ran out of money two years ago, when the Bush tax cuts kicked in.  We are now runing deficits of about $500 billion.  (Trillion?)  So how are the profligates who turned a surplus into a deficit talking about "saving" Social Security?  Let them make the rest of the government solvent before they start monkeying with SS!

        If you're going in the wrong direction and you stay the course, where, exactly, do you wind up?

        by Mimikatz on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 01:34:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I like mend it dont end it (none)
      It is short, easy to remember.

      In the sentence is the implication that the other guys want to end it.

      It sounds like common sense, which Lakoff says is a criteria for a "frame".

  •  Tighten Up! (none)
    This is a really great diary, Jeffrey. Your best to date, because it shows you've really focused your thinking on all the aspects needed to integrate framing into a real-time political process--including mobilizing, not fragmenting the DKos community.

    Now to my first red-flag point. This gives away too much:

    "Social Security is not in such an immediate crisis that it will soon collapse."

    It's much more powerful, and accurate to say:

    "Social Security is in no immediate crisis, and may not need any tinkering to be fully funded, if our economy performs at historically normal levels. Conservative economic forecasts indicate the wisdom of considering relatively minor adjustment, in case our economy doesn't do so well, but even then the system is fully solvent far into the future--plenty of time to make and phase in gradual adjustments whose consequences have been thoroughly thought out."

    Okay, that's a bit long-winded, so it's only tightened up in a core-message sense. But it's important to get this whole cluster of ideas out there together, because they do represent the core reality that critics of "social security reform" have been pointing out for almost a decade now.

    Operation 'Fool Me Once' -- Targeting Papers That Endorsed Bush in 2000

    by Paul Rosenberg on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 09:05:02 AM PST

  •  Bolster 'social security' (none)
    both as a name (tastes great!  less filling!) and as a concept.  

    I fret that pointing out that "social security is NOT in crisis" only plays upon existing frames. Here are some possible framing themes:

    "Social security is the most successful and popular program in American history" (hard to prove, but true I think);

    "SS has successfully provided necessities for hardworking senior Americans;"

    "SS reflects America's core values of community, generosity, and compassion;"  

    "Privatizing SS gives big fat kickbacks to investment brokers out of your tax dollars";

    "Social Security's function is to ensure that our community's elders will not starve"; (sadly, some of them aren't eating so well, anyway)

    "After a lifetime of supporting others, elders are entitled to their fair share";

    "Bush wants to cheat Americans out of the benefits they have financed for others";

    "DON'T FIX WHAT AIN'T BROKE".

    •  Social security is one of the most successful (4.00)
      programs in American history.  No one was interested in creating a program to assist with retirement until Wall Street went belly up; when workers lost their life savings and the rate of impoverished elderly skyrocketed, FDR stepped up to the plate.  

      Ironically, Bush now wants to put social "security" in the very hands of the people who caused the problem in the first place.  This administration pays no heed to history, and if they go through with their plan, it will be the end of one of the most successful social programs in this country.

      /The cola manufacturer is sponsoring the war/ And now for something non-political.

      by HeatherMG on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 09:27:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Secretary of History (none)
        "This administration pays no heed to history"

        I heard Chris Buckley say, when talking about the ignorance of invading and occupying a foreign country, that this admin could avoid a lot of problems if they had a Secretary of History in their cabinet.

        Of course, you know that wouldn't help this administration, but you get his point.

    •  Quite True! (none)
      It's very important to point out that SS is not in crisis, but it's equally important not to invoke the crisis frame.

      Doing both can be tricky, but it starts with the realization that we have two audiences: (1) Those who are solidly on our side, but have been influenced by the propaganda. (2) Those who are up for grabs.  Talking here amongst ourselves, I think it's very important to get 100% clear that the crisis is a myth.

      Beyond that, I think that magpie is right. We need to focus on the positives, and think about refuting the crisis frame in a way that's as quick as possible, and leads right back to the positive frames such as magpie is pointing to.  

      We can do this a lot more effectively, IMHO, if we are 100% clear that the "crisis" frame is a myth--no, make that a lie--so we know we're not trying to dodge or hide something.

      "Social security is the most successful and popular program in American history" (hard to prove, but true I think);"

      Well, it is true, as Social Security and It's Enemies documents. The GOP tried to run against it in 1936, and lost in a landslide. One of the earliers Gallup issue polls discovered massive public support back in 1938, I think it was. And the GOP basically gave up trying to fight it. It's still hugely popular today, as you can see by checking out the General Social Survey data, which shows that even conservatives favor increasing spending on Social Security by a significant margin.

      Operation 'Fool Me Once' -- Targeting Papers That Endorsed Bush in 2000

      by Paul Rosenberg on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 11:36:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  If Bush ever told the truth... (4.00)
    this is what he should have said on Saturday when he talked about Social Security:

    "Our Social Security system is based on a transfer of funds from the working generation to the elderly generation.  This type of system cannot "go bankrupt" because we will always have workers paying into the system.  However, we have an upcoming problem related to the size of the baby boom cohort.  That group is so large that it is going to overwhelm the ability of the working generation to pay the benefits promised to the baby boomers.

    Back in the 1980s, we recognized that this problem would emerge in this century and, to anticipate the problem, we changed the system to set up a Trust Fund in order to accumulate a surplus that could be used later when the baby boomers stretch the system.

    Because that Trust Fund was comingled with general revenues, I was able to take money from the Social Security Trust Fund and use it to give tax breaks to the wealthiest individuals in our country.  Then, I used what was left of the Trust Fund to pay for the Iraq War.

    Remember how Al Gore kept talking about putting Social Security into a "lock box" and we all laughed at him? Well, raiding of the Trust Fund is exactly what he was trying to avoid.  But, unfortunately, no one listened to him and my administration was able to do whatever the hell we wanted with those Social Security contributions.

    So now we have a serious problem.  There is no money there to provide a cushion for the baby boomer generation, and I can't very well recommend raising Social Security taxes because, well, that wouldn't be exactly popular with my "base."

    So, fellow Americans, I have a plan to "save" Social Security.  We are going to take part of the contributions and give them to Wall Street to invest.  That way when there's not enough money to pay benefits on down the road, we can blame the shortfall on bad investments.

    Since no one really understands how Social Security works, we can play all sorts of games with the system and in the end only a few elitist liberal economists will be able to figure out what we have really done.  

    God Bless America."

  •  If you're interested in learning more about (none)
    social security in general, pick up Retooling Social Security for the 21st Century by Steverle and Bakija.  My tax law professor highly recommended it when I expressed some interest after our SS segment.  It's a tad dated (1994) and actually out of print, but I easily picked up a copy online.  

    It's very readable and explains the theories that went into creating social security (progressivity, individual equity, horizontal equity, and economic efficiency) before explaing how the system can be reformed without completely abandoning it or compromising so much that it actually hurts the system.  I'd love to get more involved in this conversation; once I immerse myself a little more in the subject I plan on trying to participate with some diary entries.

    /The cola manufacturer is sponsoring the war/ And now for something non-political.

    by HeatherMG on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 09:19:08 AM PST

    •  Great! (none)
      I look forward to reading your diaries and will recommend each and every one of them.
    •  Two Other Books (4.00)
      I reviewed when they came out.

      Social Security: The Phony Crisis by Dean Baker and Mark Weisbrot. This page has recent articles and excerpts from the book, as well as a link to purchase it. I reviewed it when it came out in 1999--for the Denver Post, if I remember correctly, but the review isn't in their archives.

      But you can find my review of Social Security And Its Enemies: The Case for America's Most Efficient Insurance Program by Max J. Skidmore, in which I wrote, in part:

      Perhaps most fundamentally, Skidmore explains that the Social Security board of trustees changed its method of forecasting, so that a .02 percent actuarial surplus in 1983 became a 2.19 percent deficit in 1998, even though both economic conditions and trust-fund performance have exceeded 1983 projections.

      The trustees actually produce three separate forecasts, based on differing assumptions. The one routinely cited assumes a rate of GDP growth "far below actual experience. From 1999 on through 2075, the highest anticipated growth rate was 2 percent, and that was to occur only in five of the years.'' In contrast, since 1960 only five years have seen GDP growth "below'' 2 percent.

      These absurdly pessimistic projections play into the hands of two powerful forces - greed and ideology - that have converged to create a powerful perception of crisis. Going back to the turn of the century, Skidmore traces the power of ideological hostility to government action "in support of the Constitution's charge to "promote the general welfare.'- '' He shows how this opposition stunted the development of social welfare programs in the United States, as European nations leaped ahead in providing old age, health and disability insurance....

      As a corporate spokesman for General Electric, Ronald Reagan incorporated an attack on Social Security into "the Speech,'' the template he used with minor variations year after year before audiences all across the country. In two documented versions given in 1961, he claimed "the Social Security system was an intrusion on liberty.'' Moreover, he thundered, it was bankrupt. This, in 1961....

      When elected, Reagan attempted a major assault against Social Security, but was met with public outrage and retreated to more subtle efforts. Still, as the first president in half a century hostile to Social Security, he helped begin to change the mood, to embolden other enemy forces to carry on his fight. Increasingly, Skidmore says, stockbroker greed has joined right-wing ideology as a powerful - and extremely well-funded - force....

      Operation 'Fool Me Once' -- Targeting Papers That Endorsed Bush in 2000

      by Paul Rosenberg on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 10:36:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  How did I miss this! (none)
        Thank you for that post!

        "... ideological hostility to government action in support of the Constitution's charge to 'promote the general welfare'".

        Wow! I'm obviously spending too much time on the Bill of Rights and too little on the Preamble. How about using the Preamble as the "litmus test" for Bush Supreme Court Justices:

        "Your Honor, since you call yourself a 'strict constructionist', what do you see as the constitutional perils associated with privatization of Social Security vis-a-vis the promise to promote the general welfare and the Ninth Amendment?"

        [Help me here. I am not a lawyer.]

        The Bush administration is apparently seeking to amend the Preamble to the Constitution. In fact it would appear that the only precept the Bushies find valuable in the Preamble is "provide for the common defense".  

        Oops ... I forgot about the lack of armor. I guess they want to get rid of all those damned precepts!

        "You don't lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case." - Ken Kesey

        by Glinda on Thu Dec 16, 2004 at 06:16:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Mitch Gore (none)
    Had a terrific graphic/poster on SS available for download on the Guerilla War/social security diary a few days ago.  If I knew how I'd find it and link to it.
  •  Social Security INSURANCE (4.00)
    In a a way, the most basic framing in this debate is the conservative framing of Social Security as an investment. But Social Security is not an investment, it's insurance, which is an entirely different thing. It not only pays benefits when you reach retirement age, it pays benefits to millions who are disabled as well.

    Investments involve risk.
    Investments can go bad.Insurance exists to counter risk.

    Millions of Americans live on Social Security, and have lost private pensions.  Eliminate Social Security, and they would be living on the streets.

    Operation 'Fool Me Once' -- Targeting Papers That Endorsed Bush in 2000

    by Paul Rosenberg on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 09:28:52 AM PST

    •  It's a good point (none)
      I updated the last line in the memo to include the word "insure."  
    •  Apples And Oranges (none)
      Background:

      I've been ruminating on this off and on all day. It seems to me that we can wage a powerful counter-attack on this point. Insurance and investment are like apples and oranges. Confusing them is not just central to the entire effort to privatize Social Security. It is also either a sign of (1) ignorance or (2) deceit on behalf of the GOP. I say that we should press both of them, and that we should do everything we can to connect these themes with larger ones.

      (1) On the side of ignorance, this connects with the larger picture that most people don't know, to wit: Democrats are much better with the economy than Reblicans are!

      For example, Make Them Accountable's Myth's Debunked: Republicans Are Better for the Economy than Democrats includes a number of clips, including one from Arthur I. Blaustein that contains this snapshot overview:

      Which president produced:

      1. The highest growth in the gross domestic product?
      2. The biggest increase in jobs?
      3. The biggest increase in personal disposable income after taxes?
      4. The highest growth in industrial production?
      5. The biggest rise in hourly wages?
      6. The lowest Misery Index (inflation plus unemployment)?
      7. The lowest inflation?
      8. The largest reduction in the federal budget deficit?

      Done guessing? Okay, here are the answers: 1. Truman; 2. Carter; 3. Johnson; 4. Kennedy; 5. Johnson; 6. Truman; 7. Truman; 8. Clinton. A Democratic sweep.

      And, for heavy lifting, Erisposte has the mother of all comparison tables
      DEMOCRATS v. REPUBLICANS on the issue of the U.S. ECONOMY, with a link to printable PDF version.  Summary: Overall, Democratic Presidents are better than Republicans on growth in GDP, employment, and Real Disposable and Personal Income. They produce lower unemployment, lower inflation, and greater deficit reduction.

      (2) On the side of deceit, this connects directly with  JollyBuddah's comment "Attack their propaganda techiniques," in which he writes:

      (1) How many hours are our lawmakers going to be granted to read the final bill before they are required to vote on it?

      (2) Are OMB actuaries going to be threatened with dismissal if they reveal the results of the cost/benefit analysis of the legislation?

      (3) Is there any reason not to expect another fiscal abomination like the Medicare Prescription Drug bill?.... Has either this Congress or this administration given us any reason to expect a free and open debate on the merits of whatever proposal is finally unveiled?

      Bottom Line--The Rap:

      Republicans talk about Social Security as if it were an investment plan, but it's not. It's insurance. Comparing the two is like comparing apples and oranges, and the fact that Republicans confuse the two shows that they can't be trusted.

      • Investments involve risk.
      • Investments can go bad.
      • Insurance exists to counter risk.

      Social Security not only pays benefits when you reach retirement age, it pays benefits to millions who are disabled as well. Millions of Americans live on Social Security, and have lost private pensions.  Eliminate Social Security, and they would be living on the streets.

      Republicans obscure all this, because they confuse investment and insurance, they confuse apples and oranges. They are either confused and incompetent themselves, or they are deeply dishonest. In fact, they are both.

      Look at their economic record: Overall, Democratic Presidents are better than Republicans on growth in GDP, employment, and Real Disposable and Personal Income. They produce lower unemployment, lower inflation, and greater deficit reduction.

      Bottom Line: Democrats can be trusted with the economy. Republican politicians cannot.

      Look at their legislative record:

      • Time and again, they have rushed through major legislation without allowing lawmakers enough time to read the final bill before voting on it.
      • They have threatened OMB actuaries with dismissal if they reveal the results of their impartial cost/benefit analysis of the legislation.
      • And, of course, we are still looking for the WMDs that were the reason we invaded Iraq. Maybe Bush thinks he'll find them in the Social Security Trust Fund.

      Bottom Line: Democrats can be trusted to pass honest legislation. Republicans politicians cannot.

      If you know they're less competent, and you know they're les honest, why should you trust them with your future retirement--not to mention your disability insurance?

      Answer: You shouldn't. You don't squeeze apples to make organge juice. Democrats know that. Republican politicians don't.

      Operation 'Fool Me Once' -- Targeting Papers That Endorsed Bush in 2000

      by Paul Rosenberg on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 05:06:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You went to town on this! (none)
        Social Security is definitely more like investing in annuities than securities (which are risky).  

        I think the tax-n-spend frame must have been the first accomplishment of the Con think tanks.  

        OK, pushing up to those big frames...[thinking]...

        Do you think the world of  "risk" notion is too similar to the "dangerous world" posited by Lakoff as central to Strict Father morality?  They sound similar.  Only we can protect ourselves against the dangerous/risky world (Strict Father).  "Insurance is a ripp off! Suze Orman tells me to put my money in mutual funds," etc.

        Your point is water tight, though...

        What about a more general idea of "giving a hand" instead of insurance.  I mean, what if we break free from economic metaphors altogether, and anthropomorphize SS:

        "Social Security:  Defend it, and it will give you a hand when you need it."

        •  overly strict fathers say: (none)
          "if you can't manage your own money, you and your children deserve to suffer the consequences," while responsible families say, "you, your brothers and sisters, and I have all decided to chip in to support each other so that no matter what happens there's enough to go around."  

          Risk works this way.  Responsible families spread the risk around: I've got your back and you've got mine.  Overly strict fathers put everyone in a position to fail, while responsible families don't ask a toddler to walk the tightrope without a safety net.

      •  Terrific set of posts. Great meat here. (none)
        But I can't resist a humorous aside: I keep thinking that the 1965 establishment of the Social Security Trust Fund was an example of "bad framing". By calling it a "trust fund" the "silver spoon-fed" Bushies of this world and their ilk keep thinking it's their own personal trust fund left them by "Daddy". And eminently raidable!

        "You don't lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case." - Ken Kesey

        by Glinda on Thu Dec 16, 2004 at 06:35:15 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  TYPHOID GEORGE (4.00)
    One great weapon the Radical Right uses is ridicule (Limbaugh, etc.) Here's one way to put this in play -- refer to Bush as TYPHOID GEORGE

    Think about it -- HE'S SUNK EVERY SINGLE ECONOMIC SHIP HE'S BEEN ON. His success rate as a businessman, entrepreneur, and government "bureaucrat" is 0.00%

    • He ran 3 oil companies into the ground
    • He needed the taxpayers to build him a ballpark to make the Rangers viable
    • He plunged Texas to the brink of financial chaos
    • He's turned our surplus into 450 billion a year in deficits
    • His Medicare bill is a catastrophe.

    AND NOW HE WANTS TO GET HIS HANDS ON OUR RETIREMENT MONEY? Tell TYPHOID GEORGE to keep his hands off!!!
  •  "Do-it-yourself Social Security" (none)
    That was the title of an article in the NYTimes business section last week . . .

    * . . . Social Security Reform, With One Big Catch*

    http://nytimes.com/2004/12/12/business/yourmoney/12view.html

    "Do-it-yourself Social Security" is a great frame.

    •  Or "You're On Your Own" (none)
      Having squandered the Trust Fund that was put up to fund the Baby Boomers' retirement, George Bush tells retiring Americans:"You're on your own".

      Sadly, he provides a perverse logic for this ridiculous course of action: Obviously, we can't trust Republicans to collect enough tax money to pay for their bloated spending, and they have no idea how to balance a budget, so when they question the wisdom of letting them continue running the country's retirement insurance program, you almost want to agree. . .

      When only the govemment lacks virtue, there remains a resource in the people's virtue; but when the people itself is corrupted, liberty is already lost.

      by Robespierrette on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 09:48:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Keep It Social, Keep It Secure (none)
      I think this is a mantra we should work on developing. And to do that, we need supporting raps. Here's my first stab:

      Social Security is insurance, not an investment. Investments involve risks. Sensible individuals make investments when they can afford the risks.

      But societies have to ensure that their people are well cared for. Failure to do this can lead to lots of other problems--very expensive ones. It can even lead to dictatorship.

      That's why Social Security is not just insurance for individuals, paid for by individuals, it's also insurance for society as a whole, made secure by bringing society together. United, we stand. Divided, we fall.

      If you split people apart, into individual investment accounts, you turn from security to risk. To protect our future, we need to keep Social Security--keep it social and keep it secure.

      Operation 'Fool Me Once' -- Targeting Papers That Endorsed Bush in 2000

      by Paul Rosenberg on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 09:53:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  That's a great frame. What about Poverty Tax? n/t (none)
    •  asdf (none)
      Do-it-yourself Social Security?

      What part of "do-it-yourself" is "social"?

      vote early - vote often

      by wystler on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 01:08:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Chicken little (4.00)
    What if we start calling them chicken littles?

    whenever a proponent cites some fake number for social security collapse, we tell them that the sky isn't falling, and that the non-partisan CBO says 2052, and that liberal think tanks say even loner.

  •  Differentiate between SS and General Fund (none)
    One of the things that struck me about Paul Krugman's recent article on SS was how he clearly showed that the budget crisis was in the General Fund not Social Security. We have been paying more payroll taxes for 20 years to make SS solvent. At the same time Bush and Reagan have been cutting income tax and spent payroll taxes. We should make this a case of fairness and class warfare. Republicans are cutting taxes on the rich and making working Americans pay for irreponsible tax cuts on the wealthy.
  •  Privatization (4.00)
    isn't a word to be avoided. The conservatives, actually, are scared of that word. They prefer to use "reform" rather than "privatization". The reason being that polls indicate a majority of the public is against "privatization". This is because the word suggests a dismantling of the program, which it should. So, we shouldn't run away from that word. On the contrary, we should use it as much as possible, while we argue that it isn't necessary and it will just make things worse.
    •  Privatizing Risk (none)
      There's actually a whole literature on this of late--how the past 20 years or so has been all about shifting risk away from corporations and onto individuals and households. So not only should we hammer on "privatization" rather than "reform", we should hammer on "privatizing risk".

      Sample rap:

      "Republicans want to frame it as 'reforming' Social Security, but what they acutally mean is privatizing it, a little bit at a time. But they don't want to privatize it completely. They want to funnel public money to Wall Street, with guaranteed brokers fees to die for. Wall Steet insideres get the insurance part of Social Security. The rest of us get the risk. That's what this is really about: creaming off a healthy profit for the insiders and privatizing the risk."

      Operation 'Fool Me Once' -- Targeting Papers That Endorsed Bush in 2000

      by Paul Rosenberg on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 10:02:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Privatization (none)
    From Andrew Sullivan
    My old boss and friend, Mike Kinsley, now running the editorial pages at the Los Angeles Times, poses the following conundrum, which he invites any of you to refute. Yep, he's a big media guy turning to blogs for an answer. Write responses to him at michael.kinsley@latimes.com. Here's his argument:

    My contention: Social Security privatization is not just unlikely to succeed, for various reasons that are subject to discussion. It is mathematically certain to fail. Discussion is pointless.

    The usual case against privatization is that (1) millions of inexperienced investors may end up worse off, and (2) stocks don't necessarily do better than bonds over the long-run, as proponents assume.But privatization won't work for a better reason: it can't possibly work, even in theory. The logic is not very complicated.

    1. To "work," privatization must generate more money for retirees than current arrangements. This bonus is supposed to be extra money in retirees' pockets and/or it is supposed to make up for a reduction in promised benefits, thus helping to close the looming revenue gap.

    2. Where does this bonus come from? There are only two possibilities: from greater economic growth, or from other people.

    3. Greater economic growth requires either more capital to invest, or smarter investment of the same amount of capital. Privatization will not lead to either of these.

    a) If nothing else in the federal budget changes, every dollar deflected from the federal treasury into private social security accounts must be replaced by a dollar that the government raises in private markets. So the total pool of capital available for private investment remains the same.

    b) The only change in decision-making about capital investment is that the decisions about some fraction of the capital stock will be made by people with little or no financial experience. Maybe this will not be the disaster that some critics predict. But there is no reason to think that it will actually increase the overall return on capital.

    4. If the economy doesn't produce more than it otherwise would, the Social Security privatization bonus must come from other investors, in the form of a lower return.

    a) This is in fact the implicit assumption behind the notion of putting Social Security money into stocks, instead of government bonds, because stocks have a better long-term return. The bonus will come from those saps who sell the stocks and buy the bonds.

    b) In other words, privatization means betting the nation's most important social program on a theory that cannot be true unless many people are convinced that it's false.

    c) Even if the theory is true, initially, privatization will make it false. The money newly available for private investment will bid up the price of (and thus lower the return on) stocks, while the government will need to raise the interest on bonds in order to attract replacement money.

    d) In short, there is no way other investors can be tricked or induced into financing a higher return on Social Security.

    5. If the privatization bonus cannot come from the existing economy, and cannot come from growth, it cannot exist. And therefore, privatization cannot work.

    Q.E.D.
    Or not?

    Oh if there's an original thought out there, I could use it right now. -Dylan

    by timerigger on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 10:07:54 AM PST

    •  Ah, those silly editors (none)
      There they go thinking with their heads again.

      Let's not forget:  How would giving gazillions away in tax cuts to millionaires help the economy?  It could never help it.  The arguments were sound.  And it passed anyway.

      It's about the debate, not the algebra.

      This is classic "just the facts" debating that will guarantee that Dems loose everytime.  We know it's bad. Now we need to find a message that wins the debate.

      Thanks for posting that.  Very interesting!

    •  The editor makes a fatal flaw, the same that my (none)
      wife makes.  He assumes that it is supposed to work; that the plan is designed to ensure retirement security.  It is not.  
      It is designed to phase out social security, a long time, long term goal of the conservative movement.
      You should really post that to a conservative blog where there is interest in defending the plan.  
      Thanks for offering it to us as further armament against this destructive plan.

      If the only tool you have is a hammer every problem looks like a nail.

      by k9disc on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 11:14:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  On Hardball last night (4.00)
    Matthews asked a repub economist what would happen if a 50 year old, who had a private account, got hurt and did not have enough money in his account to pay for his retirement, as Social Security does now.  The gentleman (missed his name, sorry) said something along the lines of the 50 year old would be able to go to the regular fund.  Matthews said, how is that fair, when others, who chose to not privitize, have been paying into the fund, that they now have to pay this privitization guy.  The economist had no answer.  Hemmed and hawed.

    I would like to see the answer to this question.  I would like to see Bush answer it - LOL!!!!  

    And I think the senior citizens will be on board with leaving Soc Security alone (as is the AARP.) It is the 40 year olds, such as my repub friends, who think this is a great idea.  Of course, most of them are on NYC pensions, so they don't really care if the system survives for others.

    New York - One of the last bastions of the Enlightenment

    by Maren on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 10:13:22 AM PST

  •  already have "Personal Retirement Accts" (none)
    They're actually called "Individual Retirement Accounts" and people are free to put money into them and invest in the stock market, bonds, whatever.

    If the GOP wants to keep boosting the tax-sheltered portion of IRAs and Roth IRAs ... fine (as long as they can pay for that lost revenue, which they have a habit of not doing).

    But we don't need to make Social Security insecure in order to reinvent the wheel.

  •  here's something else for the frame (none)
    I have heard a lot of younger people say, even here, "and anyway, since I know social security won't be around when I get older" as if it were a certainty.

    This is the wrong attitude to have. If you assume that no matter what happens, social security won't be around for you, you simply don't have much incentive to save it.

    The attitude, if you are in your 20s, 30s, or even younger, is to say "I want my social security, and I expect it will be there for me unless the Republicans muck it up or destroy it"

    Abortions go up under Republicans. Business is better under Democrats. Pass it on.

    by JMS on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 10:28:28 AM PST

    •  Highways and bridges (4.00)
      won't be around in 50 years either, unless we take care of them.

      That's the logic Dean invokes.

       

    •  JMS (none)
      I am in my 30s and I tend to think that. WHy? Because the republicans have been determined to dismantle it for years. But I am happy to pay into SS to take care of today's seniors.

      "This is the wrong attitude to have" well I don't go around repeating it outside, in mixed company, but it is an attitude that exists and needs to be addressed.

  •  You people are all in Ohio Denial!!!! (none)
    Republicans!!! Nazis!!!

    [This is a joke.]

    [Saving Social Security is nearly as important.]

    Resuscitate investigative journalism! Reality-Based does NOT mean investigations are wrong - it means investigations are essential.

    by nephalim on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 10:29:43 AM PST

  •  Same Crisis Whether Gov't or Private (none)
    I'll check in later to look for more informed correction, but here's how I understand the situation:

    The SS crisis is that too few workers will be paying for too many retirees.

    But we don't change those demographics by shifting to the stock market. Retirees can only collect by selling stocks to that same pool of workers that is too small to fund gov't SS.

    Seems to me that prices drop due to too many sellers and not enough buyers, so we end up with much the same problem either way.

    One argument is that the market is global, but most of the world's investing population is even older than we are.

    I presume I'm missing some important growth factors. Anyone?

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 10:31:43 AM PST

    •  Challenge, not crisis (none)
      Most people in this country never make enough money to buy a home with cash.  So we crafted a clever system to allow ordinary citizens to leverage property.  It's been working ever since (until Bush tanks the economy and we have bread lines 18 months from now--but I digress).

      So, let's chuck the term "crisis" in the river and start talking about "meeting the challenge" of our shifting demographics.

    •  No Crisis, Dude! (none)
      Seriously, folks. This crisis stuff is the cons whole ball game--that and get-rich-quick. And it's a lie. So let's stop repeating it, okay?


      Social Security: It's Not Broken, So Don't Fix It
      By Mark Weisbrot

      October 2004

      Four years ago Dean Baker and I wrote a book entitled "Social Security: The Phony Crisis" (University of Chicago Press, 2000). We showed that there was no financial, economic, actuarial, or other reason to be worried about the future of Social Security. The whole idea that Social Security would run into trouble when the baby boomers retire was an urban legend -- and still is.

      Among others, The Economist -- a conservative British magazine -- reviewed the book and agreed. In fact no one dared challenge what we wrote. How could they? The numbers we used were the same that everyone -- including the current campaign of President George W. Bush -- uses. They are straight from the Social Security Trustees' annual report.

      We hoped that our book would put an end to all the nonsense about how to "fix" Social Security. And indeed there has been some progress over the last four years. Last March, the New York Times editorial board stated, for the first time, that "those worried that Social Security will not be there for them when they retire are simply mistaken."

      Four years ago, the idea of partially privatizing Social Security had majority support in some polls. This was a partly a result of aggressive advocacy on the part of right-wing think tanks and politicians, backed by Wall Street firms that stand to gain tens of billions of dollars from privatization. These people had not only convinced most of the public that they would never see their Social Security benefits, but that they could get more for their money in the stock market.

      In our book we showed that the latter claim was also wrong. We demonstrated arithmetically, as no one else had done, that the bubble-inflated stock prices at the time were incompatible with any plausible projected rates of growth for profits and the economy. As we predicted, the stock market bubble burst, and with it went a lot of the support for privatizing Social Security.

      But the Bush team is still promoting such privatization. Their proposal has a number of pitfalls: it would add to our federal budget deficit, which is already at a near-record (as a percent of the economy) level. It would increase the administrative costs of Social Security enormously, which would subtract from future benefits. It would expose future retirees to the risks of a volatile stock market that is still, by historical measures of price relative to earnings, overvalued.

      And it would undermine the political support for America's largest anti-poverty program by splitting future retirees into two camps: the wealthier ones would get a large share of their Social Security income from the privatized accounts, while most others would not.

      This is perhaps the privatizers' main purpose: Social Security is not a retirement account but a system of social insurance. It is a commitment by society from one generation to another; we all pay in, and we all draw out, because we never know how we will fare in our old age. The program also provides disability and survivors' insurance. The idea that "we are all in this together," on which Social Security is based, has always been unpalatable for those who believe in "every man for himself" and the law of the jungle.

      Social Security is currently more financially sound than it has been throughout most of its entire history. To cover any shortfalls that may occur over the next 75 years would require less than we came up with in each of the decades of the 1950s, 60s, 70s, or 80s. All we have to do to save Social Security is to keep the privatizers' hands off of it.

      Operation 'Fool Me Once' -- Targeting Papers That Endorsed Bush in 2000

      by Paul Rosenberg on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 11:19:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The crisis is (4.00)
        that the republicans are going to destroy it.
        •  ABSOLUTELY! The Attack Is The Crisis (4.00)
          I think this is probably one of the best ways to deal with the crisis frame. When someone brings it up, just say something like this:

          "The only crisis is that Social Security is under attack. Wall Street wants to raid it, and hardline conservatives like Bush can't stand how popular and successful it is.  

          "Why, do you know that it provides the core retirement income to 38 million retired workers and their spouses or survivors, while more than 6 million workers receive disability benefits? It also provides benefits to almost 4 million children who are either disabled, or whose parents died at any early age or are disabled."

          "And as for popularity, even conservatives would much rather spend more money for Social Security than spend more money on the military."

          Operation 'Fool Me Once' -- Targeting Papers That Endorsed Bush in 2000

          by Paul Rosenberg on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 12:12:29 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  So you mean something like: (none)
          Of course there is a SS crisis.  Bush is trying to destroy it.

          Q: So wht is your take on the SS crisis, k9disc?

          A: Well, I believe there is a crisis alright, and we are going to all need to stand up and fight if we are going to save SS.

          Q: Huh? (I really love the idea of this dramatic pause.)  Could you elaborate?

          A:  We must stop this administration from robbing our seniors of their retirement security and using it to secure early retirement for their corporate buddies.  

          Of course, we must also ensure that families who have lost a loved one or have experienced catastrophic hardship will not be abandoned.  There really is no mechanism for this situation in the privatization model.  \

          This is a poorly thought out plan.

          If the only tool you have is a hammer every problem looks like a nail.

          by k9disc on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 12:17:16 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  How's this? Comments please (none)
            Republicans are crying Chicken Little because they don't want you to know that, no matter what, Social Security still has enough money to pay a higher benefit in 50 years than it does today. And it's all because they're cooking up a scheme to help their rich donor buddies on Wall Street raid your retirement money.

            Bush wants to cut the benefits you already paid for, cancel the guarantee on income, and force you to gamble away your retirement security on the same get-rich-quick scheme that bankrupted Argentina. He's going to put taxpayers another $2 trillion in the hole, and make today's young people support their parents in old age.

            The real problem is that Dick Cheney, Bill Gates and even Paris Hilton will still collect Social Security even though they're billionaires who pay a lower share of their income into program than you do.

    •  You have an outstanding point... (none)
      ...the neocons want to start "weaning" America off Social Security and into the stock market at the very moment in history when the largest segment of investors will be "cashing out" of their retirement investments - driving stock prices into the cellar.

      Would it be fair to say that that "the Republican plan to reform social security is merely a ploy to prop up the stock market for big investors"?

      How's that for a message?

      Robert Fresch at ProgressiveDialogue.com

      •  propping up stock prices (none)
        ``would it be fair to say that that "the Republican plan to reform social security is merely a ploy to prop up the stock market for big investors"?''

        A few years ago when the private accounts idea was first floated I was reading about how it would be bad to shift massive amounts of money from the SS trust fund to the stock market because it would actually cause stock prices to spike and then decline.  I have no sense for large scale finance dynamics like this.  My questions are:  1. is this plausible and 2. did anyone else read the same thing I read?

  •  We have got to hammer the cap (4.00)
    We must hammer the cap of SS tax at $87,900.  Most people are unaware that the wealthy do not pay into the program past this point.

    Raising the cap ends the crisis, period.  This crisis is born from class warfare.  The rich are not paying their fair share.  

    We need to make a strategic initiative out of this by reframing the class war to where it rightly should be: the rich screwing the poor.

    All of the data supports this.  Widening inequity of wealth; rich get richer.  If the poor were robbing the rich, we would be equalizing this inequity.  Instead it is at historic highs.  The rich don't pay social security past the cap, and they should, because it is fair and equitable.  

    Raising the cap is a good idea because of 'flexible' labor markets, or job insecurity.  Just because you are making big money now does not mean that you will be tomorrow.  Just ask a dot commer.  How many of them will need social security?  Even the wealthy might be in need of social security in the future.  Therefore it is fair and equitible that they pay commensurate to their means.

    Social security is a guarantee.  

    Privatization secures investment.  It is corporate welfare.  If you are 25, it is a 40 year loan to corporations.  If you are allowed to remove the money before retirement, it is not providing retirement security.

    Bush's privatization plan will chang the Social Security administration into the Secure Stock Market Administration  Securing early retirement for corporate executives nationwide.

    Bush's Swiss cheese experiment - the plan with nothing but holes.

    If the only tool you have is a hammer every problem looks like a nail.

    by k9disc on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 10:56:26 AM PST

  •  Who would have thought that the Pets.com (none)
    sockpuppet would need social security.  I thought he was going to be a winner.

    If the only tool you have is a hammer every problem looks like a nail.

    by k9disc on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 10:57:54 AM PST

  •  Doesn't privatization mean it becomes corporate (none)
    property?

    It places our savings under private control.

    If the only tool you have is a hammer every problem looks like a nail.

    by k9disc on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 11:04:16 AM PST

  •  My framing (4.00)

    It is madness to wreck Social Security just to offer us another IRA.

    We've got:
    Regular IRA
    Roth IRA
    Education IRA

    And now:
    Wreck Social Security IRA

  •  Letters to Editors (none)
    Something I've done of late is to prowl Google News and its News Alerts feature to monitor who in print media is writing what about SS, so I can fire off letters-to-the-editor when needed.  It's good to get one's pro-SS viewpoint out beyond the San Francisco Bay Area.  

    Just a thought.

  •  How about "Enron Economics" (none)
    People have heard of Enron, and even if they don't know specifics, they know it involves lying, criminal activity, cronyism, lavish spending by top executives, little old ladies losing their retirement, etc.  And the Enron scam just so happens to have been perpetrated by close friends and supporters of Dubya.

    The beauty of it is, it can apply to most of the Bush economic agenda, not just his proposed liquidation of Social Security.  Every time the words "Bush" or "President" come out of a Democrat's mouth, "Enron" or "scam" should be in the same sentence.  Repeating lies so often that they begin to take on the aura of truth is something the GOP mastered years ago--why can't we Democrats do the same with the TRUTH??

    If the next Enron crook comes up for trial sometime soon, the timing could be ideal.

    •  Racicot & Gillespe, heads of the Republican (none)
      party are ex-Enron executives.

      This one should stick.

      Public private partnerships always lead to corruption

      If the only tool you have is a hammer every problem looks like a nail.

      by k9disc on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 11:53:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Make approval conditional (4.00)
    I think a great way to point out the problems with privatization would be for Democrats to say they would support privatization if the following conditions are met-

    1. All transition costs (~$2 trillion) have to be paid for, not added to the national debt.

    2. Administrative costs must be kept below current levels (or some reasonable cap).

    3. All beneficiaries have some guaranteed level of return.

    and

    4) After factoring all these conditions, the returns must be significantly higher than in the current system.

    This has big political benefits, it focuses the debate on the weaknesses of privatization, it allows Democrats to appear willing to compromise, and it adds some level of accountability to Bush's proposals. Ideally press coverage would then center on which of these conditions are being met. My guess is that it is impossible to meet all four conditions.

  •  Bush finds WMDs in SS Trust Fund (none)
    ...urges immediate invasion to save SS from its evil dictator, the SS Trust Fund.
    •  nice (none)
      the current threat of a social security crisis is roughly equivalent to the threat posed by WMDs in Iraq in 2002....and we all know how that threat panned out.

      Bush once again wants to take something that may not be perfect, and under the guise of fixing the situation, actually make it way worse.

      Pre-emptive invasion of Iraq = Privatization of Social Security

      In either case: A bad idea.

      •  Chalabi (none)
        wish we could work him in somehow....

        "Wall Street champion Achmed C. [Insert Rich-sounding name] agrees with the president, and is confident Wall Street will greet the new investors with rose petals".

        needs work, but its a start.

        •  we might (none)
          as well just kick the economics inspectors out of social security now. They're always going to be ineffective because everyone knows the statistics will just continue to play a game of cat and mouse with the inspectors. The only way to ever know the truth about the crisis is to invade...I mean...privatize.
  •  a link worth reading (none)
    A few days back Digby posted a timeline on how the Republicans, when they were the minority party during the first two years of Clinton's first term, managed to derail Healthcare reform. It could prove to be very insightful into some of the potential strategies we might want our leaders in Congress to employ to aid us in this battle, since we are in the VERY position that the Repubs were back then. Here's the link:
    http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2004_12_12_digbysblog_archive.html#110295975447565668

    Old man wants to be rich/Rich man wants to be king/And a king ain't satisfied until he rules everything

    by bigskiphazzy on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 01:20:04 PM PST

    •  Bring it on! (none)
      I was just thinking that today. I was saying to myself "Bring it on!". Let the ReThugs bring on the fight, then we can tar them like they did Clinton on health care. We can run the same campaign of scaring, but we are actually be truthful. Then when the ReThugs get pounded back we can take Congress back just like the ReThugs did to the Dems.

      Add on top of this how ReThugs will cut benefits of Medicare and other things that will affect elderly and we can make Bush eat his sickly sweet words during his convention of how he was helping seniors . We all knew it was false. Now we can prove it. I like the fact that ReThugs will show how uncaring and dangerous they are. We can use that as a hammer in 2006!

      Vote with your Wallet. Buyblue.org

      by shark on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 08:47:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  And do it Now? (none)
    The AARP may indeed have dropped the ball on the prescription benefits issue, but they're gearing up as we speak on this one. They have information and position statements on their website AARP that might be useful for people writing letters to editors, talking with local civic groups, and around the kitchen table.
    The time to act is now! The prez'dint thinks he has "political capital" to spend, and may believe that the 'testimony of experts' at the phony economic conference will lend credence to his claims. The truth needs to get out sooner than later: This is a manufactured crisis that the president will claim to be "fixing." Rather like starting a fire and then taking credit for putting it out after the damage is done.

    If you believe that Social Security ought to be secure, then crank up the word processing, get on the phone, and communicate with anyone you can, because this isn't about "reforming" Social Security, it's about "dismantling it."

  •  I don't like "Save Social Security" (none)
    despite the alliteration, because it's precisely the language Bush & co. are using to destroy Social Security.

    Saying that we should save SS presupposes that it's in a crisis, and I'm far from convinced that it is. A recent Krugman piece has reassured me that the "crisis" is a GOP invention. (Edward Herman made the same point 4 years ago, but sadly, hardly anyone listens to him.)

    I'd much rather have Dems repeat the mantra:

    "Social Security is in perfectly good health."
    •  Stop media from saying SS is in crisis (none)
      This is important because all the media believes that there is a crisis. They are falling for the same cock and bull story. I heard Chris Matthews talk endlessly about how Soc. Sec. is in crisis and while Bush's policy is not great Dems don't have a plan to "save" it. Well it doesn't need saving if we get our fiscal house in order. It was Alan Greenspan in the 90s who said it was okay. What changed since then? Bush economics. That is what changed. Now Greenspan is toeing the Bush line of how it needs to be saved.

      Vote with your Wallet. Buyblue.org

      by shark on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 08:41:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Responding (none)
    I am a member of the Rapid Response Network of PA and would suggest that others join.  You can follow and participate in the discussion in the local media more easily as a member.  I had an LTE to the editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer publilshed 2 weeks ago...are you archiving our LTEs? I could send it to you if you want.

    It's good to follow the arguments of economists.  2 worthwhile blogs by econonmists:

    maxspeaks.org, and Brad Delong:

     http://econ161.berkeley.edu/movable_type/

    •  Not a member (none)
      but am thinking about it.  

      I keep all Frameshop diaries, so if you post the PI letter, here, it will stay in the Frameshop series.

      •  LTE (none)
        Thanks for all your good work, Jeffrey. Here's the LTE which was published on 12/01

        Subject:
        article: Vast Borrowing Seen in Altering Social Security

        I am stunned that administration and its allies in
        Congress might borrowing money to finance the partial
        privatization of Social Security.  This decision would
        pose a serious risk for government finances and the
        future of Social Security. The administration is
        already using surpluses from the Social Security Fund
        to finance it s reckless spending.  If they borrow
        more money, what will the effects be on interest
        rates? The deficit in the general fund -- i.e. the
        non-social security part of the government -- starts
        looking bad after 2010 if you assume the president's
        tax cuts are made permanent.  Will international
        lenders continue to lend the treasury money if they
        think that government spending is out of control?

        The administration has to get over its addiction to
        spending borrowed money.

    •  Post your LTE (none)
      If you got a LTE then post it so that we can get ideas of how to get things published in our local papers.

      Vote with your Wallet. Buyblue.org

      by shark on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 08:37:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  More On Games (none)
    So he never thinks straight
    'Bout the shape that he's in
    But it ain't him to blame
    He's only a pawn in their game
  •  Best thread in a while (none)
    great diary, looks like it's fallen off the recommended. I started a Social Security blog for my dad, who has been emailing people in Washington about producing advocacy ads about this issue. There is sooo much buzz about SS on the internet its hard to keep up.

    What we need is to get these ideas out there,

    1. Can moveon sponsor another 30-second commercial contest?
    2. We need leverage, or consequences, when this comes to a vote. How did the Repubs kill the Clinton healthcare plan in 1993? I know there were Harold and Louise commercials, but it must have threatened re-election for congress people (and Clinton obviously). How can we pose that same threat?
  •  Strategy Shop (none)
    I know this is a frameshop, but how can we get Bush to give up on this issue like he gave up on Mars from last year's State of the Union address?

    I mean, I don't think Mars was really his idea where he really wants to have his name on the SS dismantalization (my bad, I meant to say "privatization"). So how can we make this so costly in terms of political capital that he moves on to something else?

    We know Bush - facts be damned, he has a knack for getting the most asinine ideas put into law.

  •  My LTE (none)
    This is what I send to the Editor of my local paper. It brings up some important points. Frame ReThugs as Borrow and Spenders. Rapid Response is trying to frame all this borrowing and debt as a Birth Tax which I think is a good idea. Another point is that ReThugs have completey eliminated the shared responsibility aspect of our society. This has fostered our current "have fun now and pay for it later" ethos that we have in this country.  Here is what I wrote:

    President Bush ruled out raising taxes to finance privatizing social security. So how does he plan to finance it? By borrowing so much that our debt level will increase from $1-$2 Trillion! This can only be called a Birth Tax because the people being born now will have to finance his privatizing of Social Security now. The younger generation MIGHT get more benefits from social security in the future but it will not be worth as much because the government will be forced to raise taxes later due to a much heavier debt load. By the way this will be when President Bush is no longer in office.

    It seems to me that Republicans have no problem with tax increases. It is just that the taxes are hidden in higher borrowing that is paid by later generations. They are the Borrow and Spend party! Is forcing future generations to pay for solving today's supposed problems a moral thing to do or is it just passing the buck to the future? What happened to shared responsibility and sacrifice? This just encourages the "Have fun now and pay for it later" ethos of our society. Is this the mark of a true leader and a responsible political party? I think not.

    This is not just me saying this. Warren Buffet recently said "Today, too many of our country's key economic decisions are being made with an eye to the next election rather than to the next generation. It is time to change that.

    I got this quote from Pete Peterson's latest book called "Running on Empty: How the Dems and Repugs are bankrupting the country"

  •  How about if we attack him as a bad daddy (none)
    We could always attack him as a weak daddy.  Maybe a Bill Bennett type.  Out gambling our money away.  out drinking it away.
    "Baby needs a new pair of shoes!" I could just see the commercial.  

    I am curious, to those who are a bit more experienced with framing, does attacking their frame work as a strategy.  

    What if we can make Bush look like a weak father.  One who can't handle his family's business.  Does this work to erode his support from his base?  Does it lend any legitimacy to the strict father frame?

    I think that is where most of my questions come in on the whole framing concept.  How can we use their frames to our advantage?  and How can we weaken their frames?

    If the only tool you have is a hammer every problem looks like a nail.

    by k9disc on Thu Dec 16, 2004 at 06:30:37 AM PST

  •  Bush's Problem (none)

    so i said,"Washington's groovy(laughs). That's what i said. And it is... for Romans"

    by k9disc on Thu Dec 16, 2004 at 10:05:43 PM PST

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