It's all about the rents, part one million and four
As I reported in my 2007 book, The Squandering of America, liberals can thank Monica Lewinsky for saving Social Security from that earlier bipartisan deal. Why? Because when the frisky Clinton was being impeached, and Congressional liberals were holding their noses and reluctantly saving him from ouster, they were in no mood to have him trash Social Security. New details have been reported in the recent book, The Pact, by Steven Gillon, about Clinton’s dealings with Gingrich.
But "who really saved Social Security" -- thanks, Monica!* -- isn't the interesting or useful part of this post. Here is the key question:
But what is it with Democrats like Bowles, Rubin, and Rubin’s protégé Peter Orszag, now director of the Office of Management and Budget and another of the deficit hawks who would weaken Social Security in order to cut the deficit? Don’t they get that Social Security, along with Medicare, is one of the Democrats’ crown jewels? Don’t they appreciate that two-thirds of elderly Americans depend on Social Security for at least half their income?
Yes, they do. (Deficit terrorist rationalizations omitted).
Social security taxes wages. Get wage growth back to historic postwar norms, and Social Security is in surplus forever.
So, then, keeping unemployment high and collapsing real wages is a two-fer for the elite, then. They get to fuck us over at the jobs, and steal our retirement money with Shock Doctrine yammering about the deficit!
The main reason is that Wall Street looks at all that money and imagines the fees that could be collected if it were diverted to private accounts. It’s no wonder that Democrats like Robert Rubin ([D-]Goldman Sachs and [D-]Citigroup) and Republicans like Peter G. Peterson ([R-]Blackstone Group) are the mainstays of the bipartisan crowd proclaiming a crisis of Social Security and promoting a cut in benefits, or privatization — both of which would produce more reliance on Wall Street products.
Quelle surprise. It's all about the rents. And the legacy parties compete with each other to enable rent-seeking behavior by our rentier elite.
Look! Over there! A tea-partier just walked into a Denny's!
NOTE * Normally, I'm leery of "sinsational" tell-all stories like this one. Then again, Bill Clinton did keynote The Let Them Eat Catfood! Commission conference. So, from a policy perspective, the story is quite likely to be right.