Despite the Enron fiasco, President Bush and the Republican leadership have renewed their push to liquidate the Social Security safety net. In back-to-back speeches yesterday and today, President Bush tried to revive the thoroughly discredited idea that Social Security assets should be invested in the stock market through "personal accounts.";
All public opinion polls show the vast majority of working people are more skeptical than ever about investing retirement funds in the stock market, especially in the wake of the massive Enron swindle. The Bush and Republican plan to liquidate Social Security also includes a proposal to mail all current retirees some sort of "certificate"; to supposedly guarantee their lifetime benefits. The "certificates"; would have no actual value, and were proposed strictly as an election year gimmick to deflect public criticism of the privatization scheme. Social Security Commissioner Jo Anne Barnhart immediately announced her opposition to the crackpot "certificate"; notion, during her testimony before a Congressional committee.
It is too soon to tell whether Congressional Democrats will be inclined to build election year momentum on this critical issue. The failure - so far - of the Democrats to mount a full-scale push for an independent and authentic investigation into the Enron fraud is evidence of their confusion and reluctance to do so. More information on the ongoing Social Security battle may be obtained from the Social Security Information Project; www.ourfuture.org .