The Privatization of Social Securty
Interestingly, the front page of John McCain's primary web site lists a number of issues with brief comments on his position(s) but there is no mention of social security. I was a little surprised by this until I realized that along with Bush's war policy, McCain supports Bush's privatization of social security. Its not good for a rich old man, rich thanks to marrying a rich woman (what is it with guys like Lyndon Johnson, John Kerry, and John McCain and rich women?), to be meddle with the AARP.
McCain, as is his way, has waffled in regard to the privatization of social security. He both supports and opposes Bush's privatization of social security, according to statements from McCain published in the Huffington Post. On June 12, McCain said 'I'm not for quote privatizing Social Security, I never have been, I never will be." That, unfortunately, is a lie. He voted for Bush's 2006 privatization bill. And in a March interview by the Wall Street Journal, he said "On Social Security, the Arizona senator says he still backs a system of private retirement accounts that President Bush pushed unsuccessfully, and disowned details of a Social Security proposal on his campaign Web site." So, what is the truth? He backs privatization but he doesn't back it? In the unhappy event that he is elected, we will have to change his title to "Waffler in Chief." I suspect that the real truth, as in anything else to do with the economy, McCain simply knows little and thinks less.
The concept of privatization is a very tricky one. Privatization of, say, the railroads would mean selling them off to private investors of one sort or another. Privatization of social security is not so clearly interpreted linguistically. The problem we face is the words "private" and "personal" occupy almost the same semantic space. "Private" is an adjective and from it we can form the verb "privatize" and this in turn can be turned into the noun "privatization." The on line Merriam dictionary says of the adjective that it "means" "belonging to or concerning an individual person, company, or interest". Note the term "person" in this "definition." (I am snigger quoting here because as I have made clear elsewhere in this blog that dictionaries don't give definitions or meanings but instead give word and phrasal equivalents. "Personal" on the other hand is "defined" as "of, relating to, or affecting a particular person." Private thus has a broader reach than personal. Therein lies the problem.
When I have heard talking of "privatization of social security," most have been people that are sure that they can beat the returns to them of their social security taxes if they could only get their hands on this money. But, of course, neocons like Bush and McCain do not have in mind giving the Average Joe a shot at use of this money as the Average Joe sees fit. Instead, they will give it to some sort of private, as opposed to governmental, investment companies who cannot fail to profit -- they will take a cut of the money no matter what. The reason for this is clear -- the government knows that if it lets you and me invest this money as we see fit, many of us will fail to invest wisely and the government will be faced with bailing us out -- by creating an uber-safety net we might call "Social Security Plus."