Privatizing Social Security

Kerry ignores the metaphysics and finds a potent issue in the Suskind piece: Bush’s promise to his fund-raisers to “privatize Social Security.”

Meanwhile, the Kerry campaign has decided that none of the truly horrifying quotes in the Susskind article have the political potency of Bush’s promise to a group of his rich supporters to privatize Social Security in a second term.

I love the phrase “January surprise.” The Bush spokesman who pointed out that Bush never says “privatization” in public leaves himself open to the riposte that Bush did use the word when talking his fundraisers. And note how deftly Jill Lawrence of USA Today Nedra Picklerizes Bush:

Bush outlined the gist of his plan in the pair’s final debate last week and said it would be “a vital issue” in his second term.

He said older beneficiaries would “continue to get their checks.” He did not say whether they would be the same amount or what he would do to make up the shortfall as young workers took their money out of the pool for retirees.

Next line for Kerry: “Bill Clinton put an end to welfare as we know it. George W. Bush plans to end Social Security as we know it. Do you want that?”

Social security, flu vaccine, and the draft. That’s a pretty good spread of issues for the key demographics.

Hit ’em again, again, again!

Harder, harder!

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com