Published on Friday, February 27, 2004 by The Progressive
Alan Greenspan Has Got to Go
by Matthew Rothschild
Alan Greenspan's got a lot of nerve.
Instead of excoriating Bush for running up a $521 billion deficit, instead of demanding an end to the tax giveaways to the rich, which will bloat the deficit for years to come, Greenspan says slash Social Security and Medicare, and make the poor and the middle class suffer.
The class bias of the Fed chief could not be more clear.
Social programs are always the favorite whipping boy of the right.
On Medicare, Greenspan at least recognizes a real problem with costs skyrocketing, but his paymaster Bush refuses to let anybody do anything to lower costs. In fact, Bush's Medicare "reform" plan prohibits the federal government from bargaining with the drug companies to lower costs, and it prohibits people or states from importing drugs from Canada. If Greenspan were truly concerned about Medicare's costs, he would have opposed this inflationary gift to the drug companies.
By contrast, on Social Security, Greenspan continues to hype a threat that is almost nonexistent. Like many economists, journalists, and pundits (Tim Russert high among them), Greenspan claims that the baby boom generation is going to bankrupt Social Security.
The Social Security Trust Fund's own report says it will be able to meet all its obligations through the year 2042, as Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research has noted. "Most of the baby boomers will be dead by then," he says.
What's more, these figures are based on the economy growing at only a 2 percent annual rate, Weisbrot wrote in an op-ed in January. If it grows faster than that, the trust fund will have more money to shell out.
And even if it doesn't, the Social Security system will still be able to meet most of its obligations after that. To make up for whatever gap occurs then, the government could lift the ceiling on the payroll tax, which today is at $87,900.
That means that if you make $87,900, you pay the same amount into the Social Security Trust Fund as Bill Gates.
Why not lift that ceiling today?
Two reasons: Bush and Greenspan.
Their life's life work is to protect and enlarge the assets of the upper class.
Dennis Kucinich is right. Alan Greenspan should be fired.
Copyright 2004 The Progressive