McCain’s position on social security

With this week’s news about the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers (and the sale of Merrill Lynch, and the storm clouds gathering around American International Group) maybe the presidential campaign can begin to focus on real issues. The role of the media is key here. This morning’s coverage on CNN was certainly more substantive than I’ve seen for a long time.

So let’s consider a policy issue. Here are The New Republic’s comments on the Social Security program, which John McCain has called “an absolute disgrace.”

As of this morning however, there seems to be less cause to sniff at the 73-year old program. UChicago public health specialist Harold Pollack, writing at HuffPo, notes that Social Security “may be the only area of government that that’s not in fiscal crisis right now.” …

I’m no expert, but wonder what on earth would have happened had the Social Security system been privatized, as was advocated by McCain in 2004 and again as recently as March 2008. With which tools would taxpayers have decided which trusty American investment house (a Lehman, or a Bear Stearns) would get their money?

In general, conservatives are anti-government and pro-privatization, whereas liberals see government as a problem solver, looking out for the interests of private citizens. Guess what, folks:  social programs like Social Security are better entrusted to government. At a time of economic crisis, the merits of the liberal point of view become clearer.

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