Wednesday, March 16, 2005

SUPPLICANTS ALL At Tuesday night's Social Security debate in Manhattan, Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute (representing the pro-privatization side) let a few whoppers fly.

But he did a better job than most privatization advocates of steering clear of misleading and disingenuous claims.

In my notes, I quote him as saying:

"The problem with Social Security is not a financial one."

"Social Security turns all into supplicants."

"It's a moral issue to give workers control of their money."
If you accept these points--the last two in particular--of course you believe there is Social Security crisis: The crisis is the program's very existence.

But most Americans want to keep Social Security, not get rid of it. And if these are the terms of the debate, privatization is sure to fail.

I'd be curious, though, to hear how many congressional Republicans agree that the Social Security program creates a society of beggars.

CONTRAPOSITIVE is edited by Dan Aibel. Dan's a playwright. He lives in New York City.