Saturday, 30 April 2005

Social insecurity

Me, three months ago:

The beauty of social security is that the public was conned into having a welfare system for seniors the only way a pluralistic society can—by turning it into a handout for everyone. That social security, and its related pal Medicare (which is universal healthcare for poor seniors, packaged as a handout for everyone), are both in serious fiscal trouble is no unforseeable accident; it’s the unavoidable consequence of a system established by Democrats to ensure these two welfare schemes wouldn’t be taken away at the ballot box, like “welfare as we know it” was and Medicaid is almost certain to be [in the future].

The New York Times, tomorrow:

In choosing to preserve benefits for the less well off and not raise taxes on more affluent people, Mr. Bush sought to cast himself in the Democrats’ traditional role as a defender of the poor. In his radio address on Saturday, he said: “By providing more generous benefits for low-income retirees, we’ll make good on this commitment: If you work hard and pay into Social Security your entire life, you will not retire into poverty.”

But critics, including most Democratic lawmakers, say that such an approach would undermine a central bargain conceived during the New Deal: that Social Security is not just a welfare program for the poor but a form of social insurance that people at all income levels pay into and reap rewards from.

“Social Security is not a poverty program, it is a retirement system people have worked hard for, paid into and have earned,” said Representative Sander M. Levin, Democrat of Michigan.

If it becomes increasingly irrelevant for middle-income people, the critics warn, Social Security will eventually become little more than an empty shell.

Most intriguing. (þ: Eric Lindholm)

Right hemisphere

Of late I’ve been making a vague attempt to broaden my appreciation of various things artistic and musical. A couple of students have pointed me in some different musical directions; here’s what I’ve added to my collection lately:

Last, but not least, one of my students this past semester in American government is in a band called Enursha with a spiffy new website. (I have some other musician students but I don’t know if they want me plugging their stuff!)

Closer to fine

Somehow I managed to lose eight pounds since the last time I visited the HAC (which I’ve narrowed down to “sometime after the time change”), and I don’t have the faintest clue how I did it—indeed, all I’ve done lately is misbehave on the diet and exercise front. I guess that’s good.

W in Canton Tuesday

The president is coming to the Nissan plant on Tuesday as part of his “reform social security” bandwagon tour. Anyone under the delusion that Mississippi is important in presidential politics should note that this is only Bush’s third visit to the state since being taking office in 2001.