Monday, August 16, 2010

Reverse Robin Hood

Ronald Reagan and Congressional Democrats made a good-faith deal in 1983 to put Social Security on sound fiscal footing in the face of retiring Baby Boomers. Now Republicans and even conservative Democrats want to pretend that the FICA tax increase on all those middle class wage-earners shouldn't help them when they retire. Essentially, they've instead cut taxes on the wealthy too much to still keep our national promise to retirees. Oh, too bad about penury among seniors!

Paul Krugman nails it:

So where do claims of crisis come from? To a large extent they rely on bad-faith accounting. In particular, they rely on an exercise in three-card monte in which the surpluses Social Security has been running for a quarter-century don’t count — because hey, the program doesn’t have any independent existence; it’s just part of the general federal budget — while future Social Security deficits are unacceptable — because hey, the program has to stand on its own.
Why is it that so few journalists are clear-eyed enough to notice the obvious bullshit from the right? They can't all be idiots. Hell, I know a few who aren't (as well as at least one who is).

But there's a tremendous herd mentality in the American press. They never know when they might need a job from Rupert Murdoch, after all, so they'd better keep their left-leaning opinions to themselves.

We have a political media in which the conservatives are rewarded for ideological purity and total adherence to every wingnut insanity and the liberals are rewarded for being contrarians - and thus often not liberal at all - whose role is to agree with most of what the conservative ideologues say.

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