Privatization Returns

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


Like Ezra Klein, I was a bit surprised to see that House Republicans are pushing ahead with their Social Security privatization bill, even going so far as to plan a vote on the bill. The danger here seems obvious: the Senate might not end up passing anything, and then all of those House Republicans will be on the record as having voted to gut Social Security and explode the deficit with nothing substantial to show for it in the end. (Luckily, the bill under discussion by the House is so insane that it doesn’t even bother with benefit cuts; it just borrows all the money to create private accounts. In other words, the way to fix a program that will someday be “bankrupt,” according to the president, is to borrow more money.)

So it’s odd. But the key sentence in the story seems to be this: “GOP leaders said the measure would be incorporated into a broader bill making changes in pensions and other areas relating to retirement.” The full bill will likely be packed full of various goodies to bail out corporate pensions; a ploy, mostly, to force Democrats to vote against their organized labor supporters, many of whom really do want the government to take action on all those rickety corporate pensions. Well, if that’s the game, it’s quite devious. The thing to note, however, is that few, if any, of these labor-friendly pension provisions would ever make it past the Republican-dominated conference committee if this bill were ever in actual danger of passing. Again: It’s a ploy. The real issue here is that, despite having a majority in Congress, Republicans are too afraid to slash Social Security on their own, so they’re engaging in a bit of maniacal brinksmanship to try and force the Democrats to give them some political cover. No one should be taking them seriously at this point. Democrats aren’t the party of ideas? Please. When someone’s standing around holding a grenade, the only proper “idea” in this instance is to refrain from going over and pulling out the pin.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate