Thursday, April 07, 2005

Your Tax Dollars at Work

Faaaaascinating article on the Washington Post site about the president's Social Security "60 stops in 60 days" propaganda blitz - and how much it might be costing you, the American taxpayer.
In 2000, when jet fuel prices were lower, the GAO estimated that flying Air Force One cost $54,100 per hour, or $60,250 in today's dollars. So far, the president has traveled to Indiana, New Jersey, Kentucky, Alabama, Louisiana, Tennessee, Florida, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Iowa and West Virginia. That is enough, by commercial schedules, to take at least 30 hours, or $1.8 million.

Wha? And that's just the president's travel cost. Don't forget that the VP and other administration officials are also out there promoting the president's Social Security agenda. Again, from the Washington Post article:

And yesterday, Rep. Henry A. Waxman (Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the Government Reform Committee, formally asked the Government Accountability Office not only for the cost but also "whether the Bush Administration has crossed the line from education to propaganda."

So is it education or propaganda? Take a look at the administration's Social Security web site and see what you think.


Paul said...

Hi Matthew -

I just hope President Bush doesn't manage to scare the twenty-somethings out of social security. Privatized social "security" is not security. The idea behind the program is to provide everyone with a guaranteed minimum safety net, not an opportunity to build wealth.

Bush, multimillionaire members of congress, their corporate sponsors, and the children and grandchildren of all of the above, will not be needing social security. It must look to them like a good program to cut back on and save up our tax dollars for funding those preemptive wars that endear us to the rest of the world and help keep us safe.

But for most Americans, the basic premise of a safety net is as sound today as it was when social security was established under FDR.

Matthew said...

But for most Americans, the basic premise of a safety net is as sound today as it was when social security was established under FDR.

Paul, this seems likely, but it also seems possible that Social Security is a big pyramid scheme teetering on the edge of collapse.

I want to be more educated about this issue. The prez is providing some evidence that Social Security is on shaky ground. Can you give me any evidence that Social Security is ... um ... secure?

Paul said...

Unfortunately I haven't done any homework, so I just have the impressions I mentioned in my comment.

I'll just add another general impression: that everybody, Republican and Democrat, agrees that action does need to be taken to preserve social security's long term solvency due to the changing worker/retiree demographics.

I don't think this amounts to the crisis President Bush is portraying, where we need to contemplate doing away with the existing program in favor of privatization. From what I've heard, this would be a tough sell even to a lot of representatives from his own party.