Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Oh Grow Up!

I caught a few minutes of Bush on TV this morning. Thanks, I’m okay and the eye twitch usually subsides in a day or two. Microphone in hand, buffed and polished “citizens” seated behind him, Bush jacked his jaw (with the help of notes just below camera level) about everything he claims is wrong with Social Security in his attempt to sway the American people that we need to take this program out of the hands of government bureaucrats and put it into the hands of Wall Street vampires.

The twitch began as Bush explained his problems with Social Security as if reading “My Pet Goat” to school children. “A trillion dollars. That’s trillion, with a ‘t.’” The smirk followed. Then the pause, while he read his notes or received his next line in his earpiece. Arrogant. Patronizing. Dangerous.

There are problems with Social Security, but the reality is far different than what Bush is telling the public today on television. In fact, the math isn’t all that difficult, even for the numerically-challenged such as myself. As John Marshall in “Talking Points Memo” succinctly puts it:

“The Social Security Trustees estimate that over the next 75 years the program faces a budget shortfall of $3.7 trillion.

But how much will the president's Medicare drug benefit plan cost over the next 75 years?

$8.1 trillion, say the Trustees of that program.

And over the next 75 years how much will the president's 2001 and 2003 tax cuts cost if made permanent, as the president wants?

$11.6 trillion.

So you add that up and you get $3.7 trillion we need to cover Social Security's shortfall and $19.7 trillion we need just to cover the costs of the two major domestic policy initiatives of the president's first term.”

But it is ideology, not facts and logic, which drive the President’s policies. Bush treats the American people as if they are children in need of a big, tough daddy instead of an informed citizenry in need of a head of state. Through our acquiescence, we are giving away our hard won democracy to Bush and his cronies, one policy at a time. Isn’t it time we grow up?

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