The Bush administration and even the center-right Democrats like Clinton and Kerry want to turn back on the welfare state. The latter wish to tinker at the edges while the Republicans want to dismantle and gut FDR's New Deal. Bush's first lie was to raise a specter of social security in dire trouble. While it is true that the program is unsustainable at current levels in 40 years, it is in surplus for the next 15 or so and still in balance for another 25 more if one counts the accumulated surpluses that the irresponsible Congress and presidents of both parties have irresponsibly squandered and replaced real money by worthless IOUs. It is Medicare that is in more immediate and dire trouble, but the Bush administration hastens its bankruptcy by adding on the unaffordable drug benefit to fill the coffers of drug company donors and shut the mouth of the more powerful elders' lobby.
To reward his Wall Street contributors with large management fees, W wants to set up private accounts, but the real stealthy intentions are to severely cut benefits for the bulk of Americans. When this absurd scam with its associated Ponzi scheme of borrowing trillions to cover the shortfall, was unacceptable to the infinitely gullible American public with attention deficit disorder, his minions including a mutual fund manager came up with a new avatar of the scam, that the supine dogs of the American media have been airing incessantly without analysis or balance, as is their habit. This plan increases the benefit accrual for those earning 20,000 dollars a year or less, while reducing benefits by 20 to 40% for those with higher incomes. Keep in mind that this is all in the future. Chances are thiry years from now, nobody will have an income less than 20,000 dollars a year due to annual raises and adjustment of minimum wages every decade or so. Thus everybody's benefits will be reduced. Of course the fat cat Republicans and most equally corrupt Democrats are banking on the stupidity of the American electorate with their inability to grasp detail and disinterest in important matters together with their dearth of time.
They bank on false propaganda that government is the problem and free markets the panacea of solutions. This is because they have not read their Adam Smith carefully. Truly a little knowledge is a dangerous thing and they need to be thrown out of government promptly by truly democratic elections. Let me add a more true and relevant adage, that is our immediate need and should be our goal and that is," Delay is dangerous" (pun intended).The passage of the new bankruptcy law favoring financial behemoths to the detriment of common people put in desperate straits by job loss, medical disasters or divorce (as Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren proves in her book "The Two Income Trap") while favoring financial, energy and insurance company profits and giving a free pass to rich CEOs and other wealthy individuals to circumvent the law by legal shennanigans, proves the hidden agenda. The new budget resolution cuts ten billion dollars from Medicaid and gives over a hundred billion dollars in tax cuts to the rich and powerful. What these ignorant of history and captive of vested interests legislators and president, forget is that social safety nets were not put in place merely out of altruistic charity, but to pacify the have-nots and protect the power, wealth and safety of the haves, so that they would not be threatened by revolutions of the discontented masses in the majority, as it happened in the French and Russian revolutions. No wonder Santayana said, "Those who do not profit from the learning of history are condemned to repeat it".