Human beings are fortunate that one function of memory is to forget the enormous amount of data a person absorbs throughout their lifetime. Important events are often difficult to forget and they either become valuable life lessons or unhealthy obsessions that if left unresolved become a grudge that gives a vindictive person a reason to hold something against someone. Conservatives have held a grudge against Progressives and FDR over the New Deal and especially the creation of the Social Security Trust, and they are obsessed with destroying the most successful and popular program in the nation’s history.
In 2010, George W. Bush said his greatest failure was not privatizing Social Security even though doing so in 2005 would have left tens-of-millions of retired Americans without security in their old age after the stock market crashed in 2008. Bush’s regret at not destroying Social Security when he had the opportunity informs the level of contempt conservatives have for the American people and it seemed that Republicans learned their lesson, but their obsession with the New Deal prevents them from learning. Perhaps Republicans are competing with each other to be the conservative hero that gets even with Progressives for creating Social Security, and if presidential hopeful Willard “Mitt” Romney wins the nomination and presidency, he promises to be the hero that destroys Social Security.
Romney resorts to every conservative hero’s tactic of lying to promote an agenda that harms millions of Americans. At the recent Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Romney resorted to lying to promote privatizing Social Security. Willard said, “We’re going to have to recognize that Social Security and Medicare are unsustainable and we can’t afford to avoid these entitlement challenges any longer.” It is a typical Republican lie that Bush used in 2005, and the truth is that without any adjustments, Social Security will remain solvent for the next thirty years or more. Romney also lied when he said current retirees would not see a change in their benefits under his plan. During the same speech, Romney promised to increase defense spending, give the wealthiest 1% approximately $6.7 trillion in tax cuts, and slash “entitlement” spending that surely includes Medicare and Social Security as part of his balanced budget farce.
Then there is this recurring “Social Security is an entitlement” meme that Republicans use to portray the program as welfare. Every working American pays 6.2% of every dollar they earn into the Social Security Trust. The rate decreased by 1% as part of President Obama’s payroll tax holiday except for wealthy Americans like Romney who pays on only the first .5% of his income because his earnings exceed the current $110,100 cap. If Romney is concerned that Social Security is in jeopardy of running out of funds, his Republican pals can eliminate the cap on payroll tax contributions and keep the Trust bloated with cash forever. Every other American pays Social Security tax on 100% of their income and with the median income at $49,909, over 90% of Americans would never reach the cap limit.
Romney just wants to transfer approximately $2.7 trillion in surplus assets in the Social Security Trust Fund to Wall Street to enrich himself and other high-income investors. A typical conservative ploy to convince Americans Social Security does not work is to label it a failure and a fraud and Romney said, “To put it in a nutshell, the American people have been effectively defrauded out of their Social Security,” and that there is a “looming bankruptcy of Social Security.” Willard just doesn’t get that Social Security is popular with nearly every American (especially older tea party-supporting white voters) because it works and that is one reason why he is losing popularity by the second. Willard, like nearly all conservatives, also parrots the fallacy that Social Security is adding to the nation’s debt, but in accordance with the Trust’s rules, Social Security is forbidden from taking one penny from the government for administrative costs or benefit payments. It is a self-sufficient program that not only works well, but is extremely popular.
Republicans are so consumed with hatred for the New Deal that produced Social Security, that 76 years after its creation they are still attempting to dismantle the only retirement income for millions of Americans as well as the largest insurance program for children. The program has never failed to pay out benefits on schedule, and the surplus is invested in U.S. Treasury securities that are considered the safest investment in the world. More than anything, Social Security provides a measure of security that Wall Street can never match, but that doesn’t stop conservatives from lying about the system to garner support for eliminating it. Romney is not the first conservative to promote privatizing or eliminating Social Security and he will not be the last.
Romney is out-of-touch with America and out of touch with reality if he thinks he will ever convince Americans to allow him to take their hard-earned retirement savings and offer it up to his god Wall Street. It is a mystery why Republicans cannot recognize that despite their lies, misinformation, and scare tactics, Americans do not want Social Security privatized. It is telling that Bush laments not privatizing Social Security even though doing so would have left millions of Americans without income in their golden years, and it is a testament to the man’s vile contempt for Americans. Romney is worse than Bush. He is also stupider because his desire to be the conservative hero that dismantles the New Deal is taking the same path that began Bush’s popularity slide.
If Romney wants to raid programs to enrich Wall Street and his investor cohorts, he can return to Bain Capital and destroy struggling businesses because Americans will never allow him near the White House. As one pundit said, “There is a reason you are having serious trouble in primaries and caucuses in states where older white voters reside in disproportionately large numbers, such as Missouri, Maine (almost losing to Ron Paul?) and Minnesota.” Romney will continue having trouble with Americans and it is a good lesson that holding a grudge is about as good of an idea as trying to be a hero for a losing cause; especially when the cause is dismantling the New Deal.