In a news release yesterday, “AARP Drops Out of Social Security Forums, Distances From Bush Overhaul Plans”, two important items are discussed regarding senior Americans. First is the large response the AARP received from members regarding its endorsement of the Republican Medicare overhaul legislation which President Bush signed days ago. The response appears to have had a part to play in the American Association of Retired Persons decision to distance itself from the Bush Administration's upcoming attempt to overhaul Social Security.
The article states, “The Bush administration, with the stock market climbing and a re-election campaign under way, is renewing its push for an overhaul of Social Security to allow personal investment accounts, a move supported by the manufacturers' association.” Now why would, one might ask, the Manufacturer's Association want to see a Bush type overhaul of the Social Security program? It couldn't be that the SS overhaul would reduce employer contributions to SS, could it? And why would the Mfr.'s Assn. support an overhaul that hasn't even been drafted yet? Could it be that some deals for corporations have already been struck before the legislative bills have even been created?
Watch closely for this shell game as the new proposal unfolds. The SS overhaul will seek the same objectives as the Medicare overhaul. Specifically, to set the stage for ending the socialized program altogether and putting each American in the position of either affording retirement or not. Much like health insurance today, 44 million Americans can't afford it, the rest can with help from employers. But look for the SS overhaul to lower and ultimately end employer contributions. Also look for some kind of tax break or preferential treatment to the wealthy who will be able to afford to put funds in a privatized retirement account.
If the bill is drafted in this or a similar manner, a triple whammy against working Americans is what will result. First, only the upper and upper middle classes will be able to afford the professional advice needed to choose which investments they should select to risk putting their money in. Second, any tax breaks to those who elect privatized SS investments, will be paid for by all working person's taxes. (Yet another working person paid subsidy for the wealthy).
Finally, privatized SS programs will reduce the amount of money going into the regular Social Security fund, which in turn, overtime, will either reduce benefits to recipients or bankrupt the government and employer supported SS system. Oh yes, and the Manufacturer's Association will be able to redirect their previous SS matching contributions to their profits for shareholders and executive salaries, bonuses, and congressional bribes (ahem… lobbyists and campaign donations).
This should be fun; just like betting on the ponies, except the odds of correctly predicting Republican legislation has much better odds. You can bet the AARP, having been stung once, knows more than you and I about what is coming in the SS overhaul, and that is why they have pulled out of any positions that would reflect their support of it. [Third Party WatchBlog]