One of the oddest things about the Bush Social Security campaign — after the fact that they started it at all — is the constant repletion of the mantra that today's elderly won't have their benefits cut. That clangs every time I hear it.
Given the highly effective Democratic scare-mongering on this issue in past elections, one can see why the Bush crowd might think it needed to preempt this criticism. But to trumpet it in a manner which to my ear screams 'everyone else gets the shaft'?
Needlenose noticed this too, but he has a good comeback which neatly ties the two elements together:
From the Department of Accidentally Opened Doors: The' message to seniors should be: “Look how far George Bush and his party are from your values. They think you can be bought — that you'll sell out your kids and grandkids as long as they don't personally cut your benefits.”
It’s long been understood that the electorate wants world-class services but doesn’t want to have to pay for them. That’s why pushing tax cuts sells as a political goal, especially when accompanied by promises that we can maintain services even as we bleed them of resources (“We just need to get more efficient!”). On the other hand, all Bush is offering here is to cut services. Who in their right mind is going to want that? And, assuming the President is being uncharacteristically truthful that the current crop of elderly won’t see a benefit reduction, this merely means that all the geezers get for their support is what they already have. Where’s the incentive for anyone to support reform, beyond ideology? Stupid, stupid, stupid!
I think Bush and the Democratss are both right that current seniors will, largely, accept giving the next N generations the shaft if it keeps their benefits up. That’s in line with how most recipients of government programs work–let the kids in the inner city go hungry, let the libraries close and the schools fall apart, but by God, don’t cut off my farm subsidy check/mortgage deduction/social security check/whatever.