The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Call Social Security, get a tall tale

Jan 24, 2005

Managers at Social Security have been given "how to" memos, proposing they push the lie that Social Security faces immediate and dire financial problems. This action plan calls on managers to raise the idea that Social Security is going broke in staff meetings and to spread the word at farmer's markets and shopping centers.

Spear-heading this campaign at the Social Security Administration (SSA) is Andrew Biggs. A former employee of the Cato Institute, a reactionary "think tank," Biggs has long advocated turning Social Security into private accounts despite all evidence that this would reduce total payout to retirees.

After Social Security workers and their unions began to publicize what was going on, a White House official claimed on "Meet the Press" that no Social Security employees would be asked to promote President Bush's plan to create private investment accounts.

That this is a lie is obvious to anyone calling the Social Security 800 number. Callers on hold hear messages like: "Did you know that the 76-million strong baby boom generation will begin to retire in about ten years? When that happens, changes will need to be made to Social Security – changes to make sure there's enough money to continue paying full benefits. And most experts agree, the sooner those changes are made, the less they are going to cost."

Is this George Bush's propaganda? Certainly. But this particular message was created and used during the Clinton administration!

There is more. A document mailed this year to active workers spends half the first page talking about the coming Social Security "crisis." Go to Social Security's website and financial problems are described as "very large and serious," and the shortfall "massive and growing."

A union representative and Social Security employee summed it up well: "These tactics exploit the public's trust in SSA, to convince the public that such reform must be necessary if SSA tells them it is."

And it's all nothing but a crock of lies, aimed at convincing us to let politicians hand Social Security over to Wall Street.