By Dave Johnson
Fellow, Campaign for America's Future
This week there was another big attack on Social Security by another elite. This time the attack comes from an elite columnist, other times it comes from Wall Street types, wealthy CEOs or the kind of politicians that have been in DC way too long. These attacks never come from people who depend on these programs (i.e. almost all of us.) Why do the privileged elites hate Social Security so much?
Robert Samuelson wrote this week in the Washington Post, Would Roosevelt recognize today’s Social Security? Samuelson writes that Social Security, “has become what was then called “the dole” and is now known as “welfare.” ” He discusses a book that, he writes, “shows how today’s “entitlement” psychology dates to Social Security’s muddled beginnings.”
Elites hate “entitlements” — those things we all are entitled to as are citizens in a We-the-People democracy. Democracies are based on “we are in this together” and “watch out for each other.” Plutocracies are based on rule by the elites. These elites especially hate what Samuelson calls “entitlement psychology” — a state of mind in which 99% of us forget our place and get all uppity about being citizens in a democracy and the things that entitles us to.
Samuelson’s core attack on Social Security is that there is no trust fund, that the money has been spent, and it is just a program where working people pay for the retirement of older people,
Millions of Americans believe (falsely) that their payroll taxes have been segregated to pay for their benefits and that, therefore, they “earned” these benefits. To reduce them would be to take something that is rightfully theirs.
And, he restates, while people think they are entitled to their Social Security benefits it really is just “welfare,” writing,
What we have is a vast welfare program grafted onto the rhetoric and psychology of a contributory pension. The result is entitlement.
The “rhetoric” and “psychology” of “entitlement.” Public pride in We-the-People democracy. Gotta stamp that out!
(Samuelson, for some reason, does not talk about how the military budget trust fund is depleted and we need to cut back on the trillion-or-so we will spend this year, how it is bankrupting us, etc. Oh, wait, there isn’t a trust fund at all for military spending… we just spend it.) (more…)