Wednesday, April 10, 2013

How A Libertarian Cabal Plotted to Eviscerate Social Security

As President Obama prepares to deliver his budget tonight, and all eyes of an angry, hyper-aroused Left base are upon him as he plans to propose a 'chained CPI' to cut Social security benefits (as 'bait' to lure Repukes into a sequester spending deal)- it is useful to recall some recent history. This pertains to a decades old plot to defund, privatize and ultimately destroy the program - by using a strategic ploy first devised by Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.

This is timely, because I also believe this blog bears close attention from  Abby Huntsman and other Millennials, given the cabal that devised the plan factors them in as pawns to be manipulated. Normally, I’d not recommend specific books on Social Security to Millennials, aka the Generation Y cohort, but in this case I believe their attention and reading will enable them to escape ongoing exploitation by the Neoliberal-Libertarin 'Axis of Economic Evil' out to use them for its own purposes.

This book: ‘The Plot Against Social Security’ – by Michael A. Hiltzik, will make them aware of a decades old plan to turn generations against each other, while at the same time copying a political strategy hatched by Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (yes, THAT Lenin) to incite that detrimental change and enlist Social Security’s own putative ‘friends’ against it by appeal to political  “mind-fucking” (my term).

We learn in Hiltzik’s book (p. 18) that the plan was spurred after a (1983) Reagan administration plan to slash Social Security benefits sent 26 Republican congressmen crashing to defeat. At that point Social Security’s reputation as “the third rail” of American politics was born. But some ensconced in libertarian quarters weren’t happy. According to Hiltzik (ibid.):

“The following year, a privatization blueprint written by two analysts at the Heritage Foundation (Stuart Butler and Peter Germanis) surfaced in the libertarian CATO Institute’s  CATO Journal. Mischievously entitled, Achieving A Leninist Strategy. –  the article observed that while Social Security was certain to collapse someday under its own fiscal burdens, it was worth examining the Bolshevik leader’s precept that even a preordained revolution often needs to be jump-started by an elite vanguard.”  

These CATO vermin understood the key to enabling more open attacks on Social Security would be to undermine its reliability. People had to be made to believe, little by little, that the program could not deliver what it promised over the long term. So long as the reliability remained unchallenged, any politician that sought to change it, by reducing its benefits, would be served up ready roasted on the 3rd rail.

The CATO pests also realized they needed to employ a “divide and conquer” template to try and set younger generations-workers against the older. Betting on the ignorance or lack of attention of the young to the issue, they wagered they could eventually parlay their concept into a full-fledged triumph. Some excerpts from their tract:

"We (must)…construct … a coalition that will … reap benefits from the IRA-based private system … but also the banks, insurance companies, and other institutions that will gain from providing such plans to the public.”

“The first element consists of a campaign to achieve small legislative changes that embellish the present IRA system, making it in practice a small-scale private Social Security system.

“The second main element … involves what one might crudely call guerrilla warfare against both the current Social Security system and the coalition that supports it.”

“The banking industry and other business groups that can benefit from expanded IRAs …… the strategy must be to propose moving to a private Social Security system in such a way as to … neutralize … the coalition that supports the existing system.”

Hence, according to Hiltzik:

“The key to securing reform, they said, was to ‘cast doubt on the picture of reality’ promoted by Social Security’s supporters. This required ‘guerilla warfare against both the Social Security system, and the coalition that supports it’”

Additionally critical was to breed skepticism in the young that they’d receive a thin dime from the program, hence might be more disposed toward privatized solutions or outright cuts. Naturally, the themes of “permanent fiscal crisis” together with “Ponzi scheme” were soon adopted, especially after payroll taxes were increased in 1983 to accommodate the coming Boomer onslaught. (One reason why the other bollocks that “there aren’t enough workers” doesn’t hold water.)

In a more recent piece Hiltzik wrote last year for the LA Times (Attacks on Social Security, Medicare borrow a strategy from Lenin)  he noted:   "The answer, (Butler and Germanis) concluded, was to “neutralize” elderly voters while continuing to undermine confidence in Social Security among the young. Their model was the Leninist movement’s “success in isolating and weakening its opponents.”

Any plan to change Social Security, they wrote, “must therefore be neutral or (better still) clearly advantageous to senior citizens … the most powerful element of the coalition that opposes structural reform.”

The young, by contrast, were "not organized to support privatization", and "uninformed about its virtues.”

Hiltzik observes these libertarians intended to “fill the knowledge gap” by making use of the financial industry, i.e. to impart faux beliefs to the young.
This then is where the younger generations must enter. Then, hopefully, by educating themselves (say starting with Hiltzik’s book) they won’t fall into the mind trap that Abby Huntsman did on the Bill Maher show. They will, instead, recognize an insidious, cynical con when they see one and not take the bait.

If they also know there is a plan  that ultimately harms them too, and they recognize the plan describes a smokescreen strategy (that distracts people from seeing what is happening to them),  then  sthey should be able to see the plan unfold step by step … hence can stop reacting to the cover story meant to distract them!  In this case, the Millennials  can start fighting back as opposed to becoming willing and unknowing (unconscious?) pawns like Abby Huntsman displayed.

Next time any cheeseball pundit says:  “Social Security is going broke!” or “Social Security is making the debt worse!” the astute citizen can see what is going on in a whole different way. Social Security is not “going broke” and Social Security does not add to the debt.  Nor can it go "bankrupt" because it has no creditors against it - rather the U.S. gov't OWES Social Security via Treasuries to make good on ITS debts to the program!

No comments: