Thoughts from a Yellow Dog Democrat living in Olympia, in the great BLUE state of Washington

I am a liberal because it is the political philosophy of freedom and equality. And I am a progressive because it is the political path to a better future. And I am a Democrat because it is the political party that believes in freedom, equality and progress. -- Digby

Friday, February 04, 2005

David Sirota Says Bush Has Mislead on SSI in Past

Bush Said SS Would Go Bust By 1988

Both USA Today and the Texas Observer have reported Bush claimed in 1978 that Social Security would go broke in 1988 unless Congress privatized the system. As the Observer reports, Bush "warned that Social Security would go bust in ten years unless people were given a chance to invest the money themselves." According to USA Today, as a congressional candidate in 1978, George W. Bush was claiming "Social Security would go broke in 10 years" - 1988. Even then, he said the only way to fix this crisis was to privatize the system. [Source: USA Today, 7/28/2000]This is proof positive that Bush will say anything - no matter how ridiculously inaccurate - to claim Social Security is in "crisis" and needs to be privatized. Nothing he says about Social Security being in crisis today should be regarded as credible once these past statements are taken into account.

My E-Mail to Senator Murray

Social Security

I noticed you added a news release on your website that says you vow to fight to preserve social security. Thank you for your courage and support on this important issue.

There is so much disinformation and spin going on with this issue that it is hard to understand what is being proposed. Anything you can do to bring clarity to what the administration is really trying to do to us will be appreciated.

For example, the administration is now quietly contradicting what President Bush said in the State of the Union speach about the money cannot be taken away by the government and can be bequeathed. Others in the Administration say that the guaranteed benefits are reduced one for one for every dollar we put away, compounded at 3% per year until we retire. The more we divert to our private account, the more our guaranteed benefits are reduced.

If I set aside $1,000 a year for 40 years, and earn 4 percent annually on investments, the account would grow to $99,800 in today's dollars. President Bush says that all of that money would be the mine upon retirement. But he failed to mention that the guaranteed benefits over my lifetime would be reduced by approximately $78,700 -- the amount I would have contributed to Social Security but instead contributed to his private account, plus 3 percent interest above inflation. The remainder, $21,100, would be the only increase in the benefit I would receive over my lifetime above the level I would have received if I stayed in the traditional system.

This is not entirely an issue of semantics -- we are being mislead and we need a strong voice to clearly tell the American public what is being proposed.

Also, The Social Security Trust Fund now has accumulated roughly $1.8 trillion worth of US Treasury bonds. That total debt of the United States government is, if memory serves, just over $7 trillion. US Treasury bonds are owned by Americans, foreigners, individuals, pension funds, everybody under the sun. Most of the president's personal wealth appears to be tied up in them. They're universally considered to be the safest investment in the world. George W. Bush is the President of the United States. So the question is to him. Are the Treasury notes in the Social Security Trust Fund backed by the full faith and credit of the United States every bit as much as the bonds everyone else owns?

Everything the president is saying implies that they are not, that there is a very big question about whether those notes can or will ever be redeemed. So if they're not, the president should say so now. Please confront him on his statements of the Social security system being "Bankrupt" in 2018. Those statements imply that the T Bonds are not assets of the Social Security system.

If the system needs tweaking, lets talk about means testing and premium increases. Let's not let him put our basic minimum safety net at risk for a scheme that will line the pockets of Wall Street while making our most vunerable take all the risks. We're not taking anything away from the privledged, they still have their IRA's, 401K's, and 457's.

Thanks again for your support.
Jane Johnson
PCO Bigelow 107

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

From the NY Times Archives

Thanks to Daily Kos:

"U.S. Encouraged by Vietnam Vote: "Officials Cite 83% Turnout Despite Vietcong Terror
"by Peter Grose, Special to the New York Times -- Sept. 4, 1967

"WASHINGTON, Sept. 3-- United States officials were surprised and heartened today at the size of turnout in South Vietnam's presidential election despite a Vietcong terrorist campaign to disrupt the voting.
"According to reports from Saigon, 83 per cent of the 5.85 million registered voters cast their ballots yesterday. Many of them risked reprisals threatened by the Vietcong.

"The size of the popular vote and the inability of the Vietcong to destroy the election machinery were the two salient facts in a preliminary assessment of the nation election based on the incomplete returns reaching here.

"A successful election has long been seen as the keystone in President Johnson's policy of encouraging the growth of constitutional processes in South Vietnam.

"The purpose of the voting was to give legitimacy to the Saigon Government."

Six years later we were running for our lives from the roof of the embassy and here 38 years later we do it all over again.