Wall Street's monster bonus from Bush


Mark Follman
December 23, 2004 3:39AM (UTC)

Robert Scheer on why the Bush plan taking shape to reform Social Security looks a wee bit tainted:

"Greed perfectly meshes with ideology in the Republican Party, and the attempted sabotage of Social Security is just another example. While the followers of Milton Friedman talk about the free market in religious terms, Wall Street is slavering at the possibility of one of the biggest potential windfalls in human history if the Social Security spigot is turned its way. The attendant investment fees alone would be enormous -- certainly higher than the minimal 1% overhead costs the current Social Security system consumes.

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"What's astonishing is that despite the recent spate of abrupt corporate bankruptcies and Wall Street corruption scandals, the president would have us believe only stockbrokers can save Social Security, and the stability of the entire fund would be tied to a stock market that has been known to tank now and again. Further, even the president's key advisors admit that the short-run cost of "privatizing" Social Security would add trillions of dollars to the Bush legacy of federal government red ink.

"While I am all for expanding opportunities to invest in tax- deferred retirement accounts (like 401k's), it does not follow that Social Security should be exposed to the same risks. Social Security is the safety net for the elderly that has since its inception protected millions from facing abject poverty upon retirement -- even if their pensions should evaporate, as they did for the employees of Enron."


Mark Follman

Mark Follman is Salon's deputy news editor. Read his other articles here.

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