December 17, 2004

The Checks Will Never Stop Coming

Oh I fully agree. Social Security is healthy and successful. We could go even further. Social Security might be the healthiest program in the entire federal government. No other program has its own dedicated revenue stream. Not education, not defense, not agricultural subsidies. The Social Security checks will never stop coming. By contrast, the tax cuts have not been paid for—in a very real sense, they don't exist, and Bush's tax cut program is in a real crisis.

By the by, let's think like chess players here. I know there's no crisis. You know there's no crisis. There is, alas, no crisis. Social Security is healthy and successful. And Democrats should get on TV and say there's no crisis. But the next move is Karl Rove's, and he's inevitably going to drum up Bill Clinton's statements about Social Security being in a crisis. Oh no! Except here's the thing. Projections about Social Security's imminent demise have always been wrong and too pessimistic. Social Security always makes a comeback. And what's more, the program's long-term outlook is more stable and secure today than at almost any point in it's 69-year history. Clinton had a triple bypass. But Social Security is still going strong.

Meanwhile, John Holbo's racking his brain for ads that denounce Bush's "Lottery for the Elderly". Good stuff, but how about an ad touting the bright side of Social Security? Picture this: A kindly old grandmother—the kindlier the better—from the '40s finding her SS check in the mailbox, going shopping for groceries, buying a gift for her grandkid. Then flash forward to the '90s, yet another kindly old grandmother (perhaps the grandkid all grown up!) finding her check, going shopping, buying a gift for her grandkid. Announcer notes that the program has worked, has helped seniors, etc., for 69 years, and it's on a sturdier financial footing now then at almost any time in those 69 years. Obviously this isn't the only ad the Democrats should run, but the program needs an image makeover. When you're this healthy, you want to look good for the camera!
-- Brad Plumer 10:05 PM || ||