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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Road Not Taken

posted by on September 16 at 14:27 PM

In a post about the economy, the Reality-Based Community makes a very important observation:

If George W. Bush’s/John McCain’s views on Social Security of a couple of years ago had been national policy, your retirement could have shared in this meltdown.

The Obama people need to make an ad of old clips of John McCain and George Bush talking about privatized Social Security and then a bunch of clips from the news yesterday. What if McCain had been the decider, then? Where would your retirement be?

It’s not enough to stick them with the things that they’ve already done. We have to stick them on the things that we didn’t let them do, too. That’s the best comment on failure in leadership.

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When talking about social security privatization, no one seems to mention that railroad employees have a system separate from Social Security and that in 2001, the Railroad Retirement Trust was authorized "to invest the assets of the Railroad Retirement Account in a diversified investment portfolio in the same manner as those of private sector retirement plans. Prior to the Act, investment of Railroad Retirement Account assets was limited to U.S. government securities."

Quarterly reports are here. The most recent report, from March, shows that assets are down 5.9%. This number would have been much worse except that the value of the "JPMorgan Non-Dollar Bond Index" was up 11%.

Posted by Q*bert H. Humphrey | September 16, 2008 3:37 PM

That said, the Trust appears to have done well in past quarters. The report from July 31 seems like it should be up by now, but it's not. I would imagine that one will contain much more red ink.

Posted by Q*bert H. Humphrey | September 16, 2008 3:52 PM

Even before this weekend's Wall Street meltdown, I've been thinking, "The Obama campaign's got to pillory McCain for supporting Social Security privatization."

Supporting Soc. Sec. privatization should be an even more shameful mark on a candidate's economic credentials than supporting the Iraq invasion is on one's foreign policy credentials. The only thing that mitigates that "should be" is this: Soc. Sec. privatization is a disaster that might have been.

Anyway there are two things these two schemes--privatization and Iraq--have in common:

  1. The stated rationales had nothing to do with the true motivations.
  2. They may have been hatched by "conservatives," but there was nothing conservative about them--at least in terms of having a wariness about the state's ability to wreak havoc.

Posted by cressona | September 16, 2008 5:03 PM

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