The Social Security privatization mini-scandal is a fine complement to the Mary Cheney canard that the Bush campaign (or more precisely its shameless surrogates, see Goldberg, Jonah) has, remarkably, dragged into a 6th day almost solely by sheer force of will.

Now Bush is taking up the "scaring seniors" line in response to a speech Kerry made about Bush's intentions to privatize Social Security in a second term. It's almost the textbook case of the current GOP spinning one of their unpopular positions into an 'attack' simply because the opposition is correct, and vocal, about its unpopularity.

It's pretty obvious that Social Security privatization is not going to happen anytime soon because A) despite years of work by very smart people, no one has figured out how to make the damn thing work without blowing a multi-trillion dollar hole in the budget and B) because there are enough Republicans in Congress who are smart enough to have nothing to do with a harebrained privatization scheme nearly guaranteed to lose them votes.

But you know what? George Bush and his "economic team" should still be punished for it. Because they have poisoned the debate about Social Security in a way that will take years to repair, and becuase they know it won't get anywhere. That's why they do it. Because even though they don't give a shit, they have to look like they have an agenda for big social insurance programs. The end result is that they get a free pass out of a politically difficult debate while wasting everyone's time and stalling progress while the situation gets worse.

And another thing. If Bush really wanted to go forward with this privatization account, he would have thought about that before he fucked the federal budget for eternity. Back in 2000, a Republican administration would have enjoyed a far more attractive hand in implementing private accounts, considering the surpluses as far as the eye could see. But now this administration's incompetence has made things tough all over. Private accounts are an absurd pipe dream, while the future deficits he's created are going to make repaying the trust fund in the 2030s that much more painful. Can we please get rid of these guys?


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