Polls consistently indicate that John McCain has a distinct advantage over Barack Obama among older voters. However, the one issue that is near and dear to their hearts is Social Security, which everyone agrees, is in need of reform. Both McCain and Obama speak of reform, and of protecting Social Security. But perhaps unbeknownst to the very Seniors that he is trying desperately to court, John McCain is bad for Social Security.
Not surprisingly, John McCain is bad for Social Security in the exact same way as George W. Bush was/is bad for Social Security. John McCain supports supplementing the current Social Security system with personal accounts. Sound familiar? John McCain claims to be independent of Bush and that his run at the Presidency does not constitute a third Bush term. Yet his adoption of Bush policy tells a different story. When it comes to Social Security, not only is McCain wrong, but he is also foolish for not learning an obvious lesson.
In early 2005, the Bush Administration and its political allies raised and spent millions of dollars in an election-style campaign to promote private Social Security accounts. Skeptics saw this move for what it was, i.e., a sop to Wall Street and its legions of generous Republican donors. But the scheme was essentially dead on arrival in the Senate Finance Committee. Thank our lucky stars!
If Bush’s boneheaded privatization scheme had become law, and even if only a fraction of American workers had opted to invest some of their earnings in private accounts rather than in traditional Social Security holdings, the late-2007 down-turn in the stock market and sustained doldrums that followed would have proven disastrous to those that place their faith in the economic wisdom of the Greedy Olde Party. Just think of the personal losses, not to mention the amount of money that would have been diverted from the Social Security fund.
John McCain knows this, and by perpetuating the notion that private accounts are the salvation of Social Security, he is deceiving not only himself, but millions of his supporters, particularly those who will be trusting him to do the right thing. He needs to be called out on this by Obama at the first possible opportunity. This issue should also resonate with workers of all ages, including young people who are potentially most vulnerable, should the Republicans have their way in their further attempts to dismantle the New Deal.
It has become increasingly obvious that John McCain would follow George W. Bush through the gates of Hell. We, the American people, should not feel compelled to join them.