liberal ["liberalis" L - suitable for a freeman, generous; "eleutheros" Gk - free] (adj) generous, open-minded, not subjugated to authoritarian domination; (n) one who believes in liberty, universal suffrage and the free exchange of ideas. elite ["eslire" Fr -- to choose fr.L "eligere" -- choose] (n) the choice part; best of a class; the socially superior part of society.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Post Heist

Josh Marshall, Talking Points Memo blogger, and Max Sawicki, blogger behind the page, MaxSpeak, You Listen, have been egging each other on to new levels of expository watchdogging.

My wife, Loretta, belongs to a Net Flix service that has been filling her requests for "heist" movies recently. In the last few weeks we have seen, The Italian Job, The Heist, The Score, and Oceans Eleven.

Marshall was jogged by the idiotic and self-contradictory character (not to mention the questionably unConstitutional quality) of our Fearless Leader's recent visit to West Virginia on the Privatization Tour.

In an AP article covering the event, journalist Deb Reichmann wrote

To dramatize Social Security's future solvency problem, the president peered into the four-drawer ivory cabinet inside the Bureau of Public Debt office here along the Ohio River. In the second drawer was a white three-ring binder filled with pieces of paper providing physical evidence of $1.7 trillion in Treasury bonds that back Social Security benefits.

"Imagine," Bush said in a speech a short time later at West Virginia University at Parkersburg. "The retirement security for future generations is sitting in a filing cabinet.

"It's time to strengthen and modernize Social Security for future generations with growing assets that you can control, that you call your own — assets that the government can't take away."
Mulling over the implications of W's message, Josh Marshall reflected on just how many worthless "pieces of paper" in the form of U.S. Treasury Notes in the Social Security Trust Fund were put there by President Bush. Besides checking in with the Bureau of Public Debt on some other relevant Bush administration numbers, Marshall's idle query was taken up and computed by Max Sawicky.

The answer, according to Sawicky, is $639 billion. In other words, approximately 1/3 of all the "worthless IOU's" in the Social Security Trust Fund have been put there by President George W. Bush, the President who said, "There is no Trust Fund."

Whatever the outcome of the Budget and Privatization debate, one thing is certain, Bush has turned the tables on Ronald Reagan. The President who made is his name in film is about to be outstarred in the greatest true-crime reality show ever conceived by the culture of mass media consumption: The Social Security Trust Fund heist.

Move over Brando, DeNiro, George Clooney and Edward Norton, Jr. Move over Ronald Reagan. George W. Bush is about to take public spectacle -- specifically in the form of the "heist," to a new level.


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