Saturday, January 01, 2005


The Washington Post for Friday said that
several GOP groups close to the White House are asking the same donors who helped reelect Bush to fund an extensive campaign to convince Americans - and skeptical lawmakers - that Social Security is in crisis and that private accounts are the only cure.
Progress for America has already set aside $9 million for support of the Bush domestic agenda, and "is asking its donors for much more." The Club for Growth has raised $1.5 million and hopes to raise 10 times that amount. Stephen Moore, head of the Club for Growth, said that $50 million to $100 million could be spent on a campaign which
White House officials, led by Karl Rove and Charles P. Blahous III, the president's policy point man on Social Security, are helping to shape.
Derrick A. Max, executive director of the astroturf Alliance for Worker Retirement Security, said "the beginning stage will be focusing on the crisis, the need to act and the cost of delay."

Didn't I say that not two weeks ago? Yes, I did. I said that the idea is to
stamped[e] the public and Congress into accepting that there is a "crisis" that demands immediate and dramatic action, [so that] any plan the White House vomits up after that will get compared to other proposals for radical change - but not to the current system, since the decision that it is untenable would already have been made. In fact, defense of the current system would virtually be pushed off the table and proposals for adjustments could be dismissed with sneers of "inadequate fiddling."
The idea - the openly avowed idea - is to create such an atmosphere of "crisis" that even the most patently inane response will be seen as better than doing nothing.

Hell, it worked with Iraq.

Meanwhile, the Social Security Administration itself isn't waiting for any outside corporate help; it's already promoting the crisis mentality, and doing it with taxpayer money. According to a December 22 press release from his office,
Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) called on Social Security Commissioner Jo Anne B. Barnhart today to stop playing political messages to callers placed on hold in the Social Security's telephone system. As President Bush begins to sell his Social Security privatization plan with claims of a looming Social Security "crisis," the Social Security Administration is forcing callers to their 800 number to listen to inaccurate propaganda with a "crisis" spin such as:

"Did you know that the 76-million strong baby boom generation will begin to retire in about ten years? When that happens, changes will need to be made to Social Security - changes to make sure there's enough money to continue paying full benefits. And most experts agree, the sooner those changes are made, the less they are going to cost."
Lautenberg called that "use of taxpayer dollars to promote a partisan political agenda" and "inappropriate political propaganda" called for them to be removed immediately.
A recording of the propaganda messages can be heard by calling 1-800-772-1213, then press 1 for English, and then the number 3 and finally 0 where you listen to these messages while waiting for a customer service representative.
Collect them all!

Footnote: How do I know that the Alliance for Worker Retirement Security is astroturf? It's being run our of the offices of the National Association of Manufacturers - and the idea that they are interested in any kind of worker security doesn't pass the laugh test.

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