Wednesday, February 09, 2005

In which Todd's Girl confuses me with the president

Todd's Girl, author of The Coming Hipster Social Security Crisis and famous to a few for her appearance on Wonkette, has deigned to read my page. She takes issue with my support for Social Security reform, and, in doing so, commits the same fallacy that she committed last week in the bar (and I don't mean drinking Whitesides scotch whiskey—which sadly lacks a web presence for me to link to—although that comes close).

Here she is:

Our opposition to social security reform does not come from a view that wants to stop history's clock but rather from an ideology opposed to the ideology behind privatization of social security and the "ownership society." We support social security as a mild (one might say, too little, too late) form of wealth redistribution. Bush touts his program by pointing out that payroll taxes paid into the system and saved in private accounts will now be left to heirs should a beneficiary die at, say, age 66. His "you should keep your money" message has a tattoo on its dark underbelly that reads "let's screw the poor."
First, she confuses me with the president. I think his plan for "privatizing" Social Security is hopelessly flawed. His plan may or may not allow people to have a shot of retiring with more money, but what it certainly does is make the federal government a large shareholder in a variety of corporations—the mutual funds one could buy into, as I understand it, are managed by Wall Street firms but the holder of the securities will be Uncle Sam. Perhaps I'm wrong; please tell me if I am. Of course, Todd's Girl might like that aspect of the plan; giving Washington the opportunity to vote at shareholder meetings would certainly give it the ability to pull some of the strings of business that some people think the government already does have. That's a good deal closer to giving the people control of the means of production, no?

Frankly, though, the idea terrifies me. Why liberals, who love to talk about the idiocy of government when it's acting overseas, would like to further empower it at home is quite beyond my comprehension.

It's not that I'm interested in screwing the poor. Who could possibly be in favor of that? I merely know that the money provided by Social Security is, on average, right at the poverty line. Let the golden years ensue, indeed. It is not clear to me that the present system does that much for them. Watch a retiree picking coke cans out of 100 square blocks of Brooklyn if you don't believe me.

I would prefer to be given more control over my future. Let me opt out of Social Security--if I'm wrong, then you can mock me in my superannuated penury.


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