Social InSecurity (How Many Times Are We Gonna Hear That Line This Year?)

On Christmas Day, the one day of the year when ‘Goodwill Toward Men’ is supposed to prevail, comes news that « our post-retirement future is in the hands of a buncha nuts and partisan political hacks »:

‘Nearly everyone agrees that it will be hard, perhaps impossible, for [the Emperor] to overhaul Social Security without bipartisan support. But the parties have not been this far apart ideologically on Capitol Hill for decades, some analysts say. And many Democrats assert that the last four years under Mr. Bush have only deepened the division and mistrust. Democratic leaders are careful to say they are willing to engage in bipartisan discussions about the problems facing Social Security, with “no preconditions on either side,” as Representative Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader in the House, put it last week. The [emperor] himself said Thursday that he understood that “I have a responsibility to reach out to members of both political parties and I will meet that responsibility.” But leading Democrats say [the Emperor] is beginning his Social Security drive with some unacceptable preconditions. Indeed, Democratic leaders dispute the Republicans’ central assertions: that the problems facing Social Security constitute a crisis, and that diverting payroll taxes to private investment accounts is the way to solve it. Social Security trustees have estimated that without changes, the system will start running short of money to pay full benefits in 38 years. “If we allow them to frame it that way — that there is a crisis, therefore we must go to private accounts — if we allow them to frame it that way, the fact is, we’ve perpetrated a huge fraud,” said Senator Byron L. Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota and chairman of the Democratic Policy Committee. Moreover, any serious effort to build a bipartisan coalition is bucking some powerful trends. The latest analysis of roll-call votes by Congressional Quarterly showed that 2003 was the most partisan year of the past five decades studied, and 2004 was only slightly less so.’

Good lord. We are SO screwed when we hit retirement age.