“John Thune Wants to Steal Your Social Security Money,” by Chad Shuldt, Clean Cut Kid, 29 April2005, http://www.cleancutkid.com/2005/04/29/john-thune-want-to-steal-your-social-security-money/.
Key: Blue, rejectionists; Red, reformers; Orange, rejectionists ready to deal; Dark Blue, extreme rejectionists; solid lines, mutual support; arrow lines, mutual opposition
It shows a successul 4GP network attack on a 2GP defending network. It shows the current state of the social security debate, with the (mostly Republican) Reformists splitting the (mostly Democrat) Rejectionist camp by offering progressive indexing.
The success comes from Bush splintering the Democrat network. While mainstream liberals such as the New York Times, USA Today, and Washington Post are urging Democrats to compromise, netroots such as CCK have different ideas
There is one proposal out there that is based around â€œprogressiveâ€ indexing, and itâ€™s likely to be presented to Congress since â€œeverything is on the tableâ€ (other than keeping Social Security as close to possible in its current state). But make no mistake about it, progressive indexing is just another scheme to rob working people of the money they have already paid into the system through taxation on every dollar they worked to earn.
Now, CCK is right that progressive indexing is an attempt to re-welfare-ize social security..
Neither is the notion of Social Security as “insurance” terribly coherent, if it ever was. Even when Social Security was first instituted, over half of Americans who reached the age of 21 would survive past age 65. As of 1990 the percentages were over 72 percent for men and 83 percent for women. Aging is not a “risk” to “insure” against; it’s a normal part of life to plan for.
What worries liberals about progressive indexing, and about the shift to a more overtly welfare-like Social Security system, is that welfare benefits tend to be politically unpopularâ€”and much easier to cut than benefits perceived as universal. Social Security, in other words, is a massive Rube Goldberg device, an ornate and utterly superfluous system of transfers from the middle and upper classes to themselves, the sole purpose of which is to constructâ€”and concealâ€”a much smaller welfare machine for elderly retirees nestled deep in the guts of the meta-contraption. Some defenders of the status quo are now attemptingâ€”though they scarcely seem to believe it themselvesâ€”to argue that Social Security is no less vital for the middle class. But corner a progressive over a quiet drink and he’ll probably admit that, in fact, the only defensible purpose of Social Security is to ensure that nobody retires in poverty. There may be political reasons for cutting a monthly check to Bill Gates when he turns 65, but there are no sane policy reasons.
Yet here the irony. CCK sees the issue clearly — proressive indexing will “weaken” the ageist everyone-to-elderly income transfer aspect of Social Security. But his actions — begging the liberal leadership to get back in line and scaring the “masses” with pseudo-facts — disrupt his own network and make Bush’s job easier.
President Bush laid a political trap that SS Rejectionists jumped in to. That’s the power that comes from understanding modern politics clearly.