Thursday :: Feb 4, 2010

Republican Budget Draft: Privatize Social Security and Medicare


by Turkana

One of the truly brilliant conservative ideas is to privatize social security. After all, what makes more sense than taking senior citizens' social safety net and investing it in the stock market? We all know that the market always goes up, right? The last couple years have proved that! And if some people lose their social safety net, and lose their investments, and therefore have nothing to fall back on, that's just tough, right? At least Wall Street will have a huge new infusion of cash. Which should be a great comfort to all those retirees who spent their entire working lives paying into what they thought would protect them in their golden years. Not to mention their children and grandchildren. If they have children and grandchildren. If they have children and grandchildren who can afford to support them if the social safety net they were counting on being there suddenly isn't.

After the last couple years, you would think that Republicans would give up on their plan to transfer the Social Security Trust Fund into the private accounts of Wall Street firms and banks. But you have to hand it to the Republicans. Reality never trumps ideology. Josh Marshall has the news:

House Republicans don't have an official budget yet. But they have what amounts to a first draft. The official budget will be released in March or April and will be authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the ranking member of the House Budget Committee in consultation with the other Republicans on the Committee. But Ryan has released a budget he'd like. And it's actually fairly detailed. And if you read it, which we have, you start to wonder why Democrats aren't making a bigger deal out of it.

Want some details?

First, it calls for big cuts in Social Security benefits for everyone currently under 55 years of age. On top of the cuts it also calls for privatizing Social Security.

Basically the exact plan President Bush tried in 2005. Next, it calls for the full privatization and phasing out of Medicare. It'll be replaced by a system of vouchers in which instead of getting Medicare you get a voucher to buy un-reformed private insurance.

Good. Because Medicare is just as bad and unpopular as Social Security! And Marshall points out that it's not exactly the most fiscally responsible budget, either. It does get rid of the federal deficit. In about 50 years...

Apparently, Republicans leaders are refusing to say that Ryan's draft will be their final proposal. But Ryan is their budget guy. And Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), the Republicans' number two guy on the budget committee also is on the record supporting the privatization of Social Security.

So, spread the word. Should the Republicans regain the House, this year, the privatization of Social Security and Medicare will be in play. Sounds like something voters should know about.

Turkana :: 12:17 PM :: Comments (5) :: Digg It!