July 27, 2006

Sheldon's Scaring the Seniors

Marc Comtois

Sheldon Whitehouse is engaging in that time-tested, liberal Democrat method of winning the senior-citizen vote: scare the hell out of them:

I met a woman who asked me fearfully if the Republicans were really trying to do away with Social Security. It made me sick to have to tell her she may be right.

Over the last several months, a series of Republican leaders - from George Bush and Karl Rove to several others - have signaled that they’re planning to push for Social Security privatization if they retain control of Congress. I don’t have to tell you that that would be a disaster for Rhode Island seniors....Republican efforts to privatize Social Security will break this promise we made to seniors and force thousands of our fellow Rhode Islanders into even more precarious financial straits than now.

We’ve got to stop that from happening. Let’s keep our promise to Rhode Island seniors and make sure that the Republicans don’t have the chance to privatize Social Security.

Any honest person knows that the President's plan for Social Security Reform is concerned with future expenditures, not current.
Social Security is sound for today’s seniors and for those nearing retirement, but it needs to be fixed for younger workers – our children and grandchildren. The government has made promises it cannot afford to pay for with the current pay-as-you-go system.

* In 1950, there were 16 workers to support every one beneficiary of Social Security.

* Today, there are only 3.3 workers supporting every Social Security beneficiary.

* In 2008 – just three short years from now – baby boomers will begin to retire. And over the next few decades, people will be living longer and benefits are scheduled to increase dramatically. By the time today’s youngest workers turn 65, there will only be 2 workers supporting each beneficiary.

o Under the current system, today’s 30-year-old worker will face a 27% benefit cut when he or she reaches normal retirement age.

Instead of scaring seniors with false claims about "possible" Republican efforts to cut Social Security for today's seniors, Sheldon Whitehouse should be responsible enough to offer his own comprehensive plan. But that's too hard. It's easier to demagogue the President and "the wealthy." Note his solution:
We can protect Social Security too. We just need the courage to tell the voters we’re going to lift the limit on Social Security withholding from $90,000 to $120,000. That makes a lot more sense than cutting benefits and we can keep Social Security solvent for decades to come.
See, it's that easy? Now, I'll grant Whitehouse this: his "comprehensive" proposal could be part of a larger solution. But it'll take much more than that to vouchsafe Social Security for future generations. Of course, those future generations aren't present-day voters, are they?

UPDATE: In addition to this post by Don Hawthorne, the Heritage Foundation is a good resource for info on the entire Social Security debate. For instance, here is more info on when/how much the shorfall will be. And here is more on how the current Social Security Reform debate is about FUTURE, not PRESENT expenditures. In short, today's senior citizens have nothing to worry about when it comes to their own social security. They'll continue to get much more than what they originally paid in....

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One need merely read this report to know that Sheldon Whitehouse’s “solution” won’t fix anything.

He and his party know it! They’re simultaneously scaring seniors (Republican boogeymen) and falsely reassuring them (“it’s fixable, we merely need raise taxes on the ‘rich’”).

That he and the Democratic Party engages in this – perpetuating the status quo which in turn will make inevitable a tragic and calamitous national financial reckoning – all for short-term political advantage demonstrates, beyond any possible question or defense, their political and moral depravity.

If they aren’t made to answer for this in this life, it is a small comfort to know that their day of judgment will come.

“Is The United States Bankrupt?” – Laurence J. Kotlikoff, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis: http://research.stlouisfed.org/publications/review/06/07/Kotlikoff.pdf

Posted by: Tom W at July 27, 2006 10:55 AM

Sorry, but how is the Cranston Mayoral Debate germane to this post? I'm tempted to delete your comment because it's just so completely off-topic. However, I'll wait to hear your reasoning first. You've got the rest of the day.

Posted by: Marc Comtois at July 27, 2006 1:25 PM

This is no different from the "Medi-scare" tactics that the Democrats used years ago. It is the same old problem for the Democrats. They are big government advocates and any attempt to reign in government programs is met with lies and distortions. Their problem is that the truth does not favor them.
The irony is that while they like big government, they are the first to cry foul when that big government fails them, as it always will. The Katrina response is a case in point. They love to put the blame on Bush for Katrina, but it was lifelong bureaucrats who run the show that failed.
Democrats think government is the answers; in reality, government is the problem.

Posted by: Jim at July 27, 2006 3:44 PM

An earlier posting contains links to information on the Social Security policy debate.

Posted by: Donald B. Hawthorne at July 28, 2006 11:38 AM

Two Administrative comments:
1) I decided to let Frank's off-topic comment stand. Consider it a warning. (cue scary music)

2) Don, thanks for the link, I'll put it in the main post.

Posted by: Marc Comtois at July 28, 2006 1:39 PM

This is too funny. What will you people debate when there are two republicans laeft in office? Who's more conservative?

Posted by: Rino Cooke at August 1, 2006 4:14 PM