Here’s What Might Have Happened If George Bush Privatized Social Security 10 Years Ago


Republican efforts to destroy Social Security are almost as intense as their efforts to disenfranchise minority voters, defund planned parenthood, kill the minimum wage, halt environmental regulations, regulate risky wall street bets….Okay, so republicans seem to like to destroy a lot of things. But regarding Social Security, it’s painfully clear that most republicans are willing to blindly take a chainsaw to the entire edifice of the New Deal, without even taking a breather to deny climate change.

Remember that time that President Bush attempted to privatize Social Security in 2005?

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While those among us with two-functioning brain cells were either forced into intense therapy in Vienna to rid the memory of the Bush years, the paste-eating bungler of the Middle East was starting a concerted effort to privatize Social Security. After winning reelection in 2004 and wishing to spend some political capital, George Bush tried to shift the focus of screwing up on foreign policy to screwing up on domestic policy.

Here were some remarks he made regarding his plans to privatize social security back in 2005:

Younger workers should have the opportunity to build a nest egg by saving part of their Social Security taxes in a personal retirement account. We should make the Social Security system a source of ownership for the American people.” ~Former President Bush (Brookings)

That was just politician speak for “I want to take your hard-earned and trusted money and put it into the hands of greedy wall street gamblers.” It’s a good thing the economy soared for the remainder of his presidency and everyone never lost their job or their retirement savings.

Oh wait– that’s just as much a fantasy as bringing democracy to Iraq.  

The great economic recession of 2008, which that brought financial ruin and near catastrophe to the World Economy, could’ve been much worse had social security been privatized. Take, for example, 401(k)s.

Carol Dailey spent 10 years as an executive assistant at America Online and had stock options she figures were once worth $1.7 million. The options’ value collapsed with the company’s stock. She was forced to rely on her 401(k), which took a major hit. Consequently, she had to continue to work at 71 years of age, according to a WSJ article from 2011. The same article pointed out that only 8% of households approaching retirement had the $636,673 or more in their 401(k)s that would be needed to generate $39,465 a year.

Can you imagine how more messed up the economic meltdown of 2008 might have been had social security been treated like a 401(k) plan?

Luckily the public overwhelmingly rejected the idea, as did members of Congress (most Republicans weren’t as batty yet), and it went down in flames like post-war Iraq. Well, 10 years later and Republicans still haven’t given up their horny quest to turn Social Security into a wall street wet dream. Paul Ryan, always forgetting that he’s a smarmy toad who actually once lived on social security, has been leading the movement to take one big massive dump on it. And republicans didn’t waste any time in going after Social Security on their first day in control of both houses (that sentence still gives me tremors).

Social Security’s long-term solvency may be an issue, but turning it into another risky game of blackjack is something that hopefully will never happen.

Featured Image via Salon

 

 

 

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