The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Friday, April 08, 2005

At last, some sense from the left on social security

The fairy stories being told about the social security trust funds by opponents of Bush's privatization scheme (March 7) have got my goat - a little. (Pols will be pols, hacks will be hacks, but...)

Yet, on Janeane Garofalo's show last night [1], I hear veteran leftie Fran Lebowitz [2] nailing the issue, without actually mentioning the words. Young people she said (25:20 - emphasis mine)
are the people who support social security reform because they don't understand what social security is...In fact, many people my age don't know what social security is. People are always saying 'It's my money: I put it in, I'm taking it out.'

It's not your money. The money you get for social security is the money that people younger than you are putting in.

It's a pyramid scheme. And social security isn't meant to be a fabulous investment. The whole reason for social security is that the word 'old' is not synonymous with the word 'poor'. That's the whole reason for it. It's not supposed to be a fabulous investment scheme, it's not supposed to be a thing that you put in, and you take out. It's supposed to be a thing that society takes care of old people.

There is no crock of gold: there is only one generation paying in and an earlier generation taking out. Not a trust: a pyramid scheme.

I don't think Lebowitz would claim any actuarial expertise; but she's prepared to say what seems to be the unsayable for eggier heads opposing the Bush plan (whatever it is).

Worthy of note, I thought.

  1. The girl is in LA, I believe to make her pilot, All In. Which I hope means something different stateside from what it means over here.

  2. Get the MP3 at the show's archive. There's none of the Catskills shtick with Lebowitz, thankfully: leers, grimaces and pauses for laughs. Franken could take lessons.

    She says of today's youth (25:00)

    a bigger bunch of dopey young people have never existed
    (Candidate Franken better not steal her material, I'm thinking...)

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