Privatization Pep Rally

Max Sawicky sawicky at
Thu Jul 30 12:15:14 PDT 1998

>Max, what you're really saying is that the ruling class has decided to
>privatize Social Security, and all their loyal professors and pundits are
>aiding in the sales effort, and there's not a goddamn thing we can do about

You must be referring to the other Max. I can't imagine how you infer this from my posts.

> Especially since it's going to be done by a Democratic president, which
silences the unions and liberals who might otherwise make a fuss if it'd been Steve Forbes doing the dirty work.>>

If privatization amounts to no more than the trust fund buying financial assets, there may not be too much to squawk about.

But you are forcing me to repeat my six-point program for dealing with all this:

" . . . we are:

1. circulating destructive criticism of privatization plans (tax increases, benefit cuts, and less security)

2. pointing out the uncertain nature of current, pessimistic projections

3. downplaying the opposition's depiction of the magnitude of the problem;

4. pointing out the self-interest of privatization advocates

5. motivating benign solutions.

6. defending the concept of redistributive social insurance."

Number 5 entails small tax increases, to be phased in over a long period. If pressed to the wall, if it meant closing a deal, we would acquiesce in the trust fund owning financial assets.

This last could entail some unpleasant variations, depending on the rules for how such a measure would be financed and scored for budget-keeping.

If the purchases are scored as outlays and mandated at some level, they would increase the deficit measure and add to pressure for spending cuts. This would be a matter of statute and not difficult to repeal, given the right political circumstances. The other side agrees that the stock purchase is saving, so it makes no sense to regard it as an outlay. I do agree with in a certain spirit, in that the stock purchase is not a safe harbor, as many of my compatriots would have it, but a risky final resort.

All this has helped me conceptualize my next op-ed, which I appreciate.


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