Sunday, May 18, 2008

Now Look Who Is Playing The Politics Of Fear

A few days ago, Newsweek declared that the Republican Party had used fear to win elections since 1968. Today, Sen. Barack Obama used social security to scare senior citizens into voting for him as Democrats have done in election after election for the past half-century. The AP's Mike Glover reports:

Democrat Barack Obama told seniors Sunday that Republican John McCain would threaten the Social Security that they and millions like them depend on because he supports privatizing the program.

Obama turned to a bedrock, pocketbook issue as he spoke to about 130 people at an assisted living facility and sought to tie the GOP's presidential nominee-in-waiting to an unpopular President Bush on an issue that motivates seniors.

"Let me be clear, privatizing Social Security was a bad idea when George W. Bush proposed it, it's a bad idea today," Obama said. "That's why I stood up against this plan in the Senate and that's why I won't stand for it as president."

Bush proposed a Social Security plan in 2005 that focused on creating private accounts for younger workers, but it never came up for a vote in Congress. Democrats strongly opposed the idea and few Republicans embraced it.

Obama said McCain would push to raise the retirement age for collecting Social Security benefits or trim annual cost-of-living increases. Obama has rejected both ideas as solutions to the funding crisis projected for Social Security in favor of making higher-income workers pay more into the system.

"We have to protect Social Security for future generations without pushing the burden onto seniors who have earned the right to retire in dignity," he said.

Because Democrats like Obama demagogue this issue year after year, it is impossible to develop a long-term solution to make the system solvent and ensure adequate retirement benefits for future generations. Don't run on a platform of change if you're simply going to rely on politics as usual to win an election.

UPDATE: Not to spend too much time picking on Obama this weekend, but this is one I just couldn't pass up. Some of you are old enough to remember former President Jimmy Carter's energy plan called "Moral Equivalent of War", better known as MEOW, when he asked Americans to accept the fact that they were going to have to learn to live with less. Well, when I read this statement from Obama today about his own energy policy, I couldn't help but think of Carter's failed MEOW policy:

Pitching his message to Oregon's environmentally-conscious voters, Obama called on the United States to "lead by example" on global warming, and develop new technologies at home which could be exported to developing countries.

"We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times ... and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK," Obama said.

"That's not leadership. That's not going to happen," he added.


Wolfrham Hart said...

I've always wanted to ask those who oppose Social Security reform: What is your solution is? The math is pretty darn simple:

Baby Boomers > Social Security funds = Gen X gets screwed at retirement.

Granted I realize the alternative solution this formula is: Roth IRA = Gen X retirement funds.

I never understand why the AARP crowd always gets up in arms over this. I've never heard of a reform package that actually affects their benefits. I guess the message that "Republicans will steal your Social Security" drowns out any discussion of actual details.

Does the AARP care about the financial future of their grandchildren?

Mark said...

"We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times ... and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK"

Funny. When we get involved in other countries' business and try to dictate how they ought to live, it's hegemony. When Obama basically says he'll let other countries try to dictate how we live our lives, it's smart politics.


David Myers said...

I will give an example of Social securtiy reform. I draw a private pension that was paid for by my company. After only 15 years, I draw more out of that pension then I will out of SS, after paying into it for 45 years. Witch is the better soluation?