No, it’s the Republicans who are mostly using fear-mongering as part of a regimented political calculation this election season, not Democrats.
So remind The Oklahoman editorial writers, who support politicians such as U.S. Sen. Coburn, whose predictions of future financial insolvency for the nation are about as lacking in facts and logic as you can get.
The newspaper, in an incredible act of rhetorical deceit and omission—it has been screeching doomsday for months over what it calls “Obamacare”—has now accused President Barack Obama of using “the politics of fear” when it comes to protecting Social Security.
The editorial, “Obama employs politics of fear in Social Security debate” (Aug. 20, 2010), begins like this:
The politics of fear lives, resurrected by President Obama's strategy to shift attention away from Democrats' liberal/progressive policy agenda that has put approval ratings for the president and his party underwater as the election campaign season looms.
It goes on to argue that a recent weekly address by Obama played the “fear card” when it mentioned that Republicans are intent of dismantling Social Security. The address was given on the 75th anniversary of Social Security.
Here’s the deceit: It’s the Republicans who are using fear-mongering to try to privatize Social Security and hand taxpayer’s money over to Wall Street investors. Privatizing Social Security would be irresponsible. The recent Wall-Street debacle that led to the mortgage crisis and massive retirement financial losses is ironclad proof that Social Security accounts should not be entrusted to investment bankers.
The main GOP proposal is to allow younger taxpayers to invest their Social Security money in private accounts, an idea that’s been around for quite some time and is based on Chicken-Little claims that the program, as one leading privatization proponent writes, “is going broke.” The “going broke” claim comes from many GOP politicians, including U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican. The editorial mentions Ryan as advancing the current GOP leading proposal. Some political leaders also want to raise the retirement age for Social Security.
But talk about fear-mongering. Even Ryan points out in his proposal that Social Security, if current predictions hold, won’t exhaust its funds until 2037, and then it could still pay 75 percent. How in the world is that going broke? Also, it’s only an extremely slight possibility and most rational people argue it’s highly unlikely. The government can do many things to solve the issue. It could raise the income level on which FICA taxes could be assessed, for example. Right now, it’s capped at $102,000. Most important, and by the GOP’s own admission, the government has 27 years to come up with a solution. That’s a lot of years. So why is the GOP playing the fear card, prompting Obama’s comments?
Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, recently wrote in The New York Times:
Social Security’s attackers claim that they’re concerned about the program’s financial future. But their math doesn’t add up, and their hostility isn’t really about dollars and cents. Instead, it’s about ideology and posturing. And underneath it all is ignorance of or indifference to the realities of life for many Americans.
But let’s get back to The Oklahoman. The newspaper basically serves the interests of the rich elite in our community. For decades, it has exhibited what Krugman called “the ignorance of or indifference to the realities of life for many Americans.” The newspaper doesn’t allow substantial, dissenting voices to its opinions. Its editorial page is often deceitful, especially when it comes to political issues, both nationally and locally. Its recent editorial on Social Security is an example of deceit and a basic refusal to discuss the program rationally, beyond partisan politics. It does a grave disservice to many Oklahomans concerned about their retirements.
So for the record: It’s the GOP that’s doing the fear-mongering when it comes to Social Security, not President Obama.