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Saturday, January 01, 2005

GOP Raising $100 mil for Social Security Piratization Ad Campaign

Hoping that you can fool enough of the people enough of the time, Republicans are pooling their pennies in an effort to convince the American public that a) there actually IS a Social Security crisis, b) that private accounts will fix things, and C) Bush has a "mandate" to do so. Or so says the WaPo today. This in the wake of AARP's announcement that they will spend $5 million trying to fight the plan.

The AARP effort (which includes an ad with a 40-ish couple saying "if we feel like gambling, we'll play the slots") is being joined by the AFL-CIO, the National Organization for Women (or "Witches," according to Falwell) and the NAACP. (I guess the NAACP isn't buying David Dreier's claim that "African-Americans would be the greatest beneficiaries of this...with a shortened life span.")

"Progress for America" has already raised $9 million in the effort; the conservative "Club for Growth" hopes to raise $15 million soon. These will be paltry sums next to the money being raised by the National Association of Manufacturers and the financial services and securities industries.

As alarming as all this is, the following from the WaPo article is even more troubling (emphasis mine):

The only point [Republicans and Democrats] agree on is that Social Security faces a long-term financial problem because the U.S. population is growing older, living longer and, sometime next decade, will be taking more out of the system in benefits than it is paying in taxes that fund it. Democrats are divided over how to fix the problem. Some want to raise taxes; others want to cut benefits or delay the retirement age.

As long as major media outlets like the Washington Post are unquestioningly spewing out propaganda like this, it's going to be a really tough fight.

As NOW states:

Social Security is NOT in trouble: The Social Security system will be able to pay full benefits for several more decades—until 2052 according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office....On the other hand, George Bush is in trouble. He's got a big debt to pay to his friends on Wall Street, and he wants to do it fast so that the next group can belly up to the taxpayer trough. The transition costs alone—an estimated $2 trillion—are enough to make Halliburton want to expand into yet another area of government "service." Some have called this the "biggest bonanza in mutual fund history," and the financial industry stands to gain as much as $75 billion a year.

It's going to be an ugly war -- as the WaPo notes, probably the ugliest major policy war since Clinton's health care reform went down in flames. I can see it now -- "Swift Vote Veterans for Saving Granny." Or some such gibberish. I know we all dug deep for the victims of the Tsunami, but it looks like we're going to have to start thinking about ponying up for what we believe in if we want to win this one.  A quick search didn't produce any web sites that are taking contributions, but I will post them when I find any.