He doesn't know what Social Security is.
I've been fuming for days, muttering under my breath, staring with crazy red eyes at the sky - trying all the while to put into words how pissed I am at McCain...this time.
But this morning I found I don't have to fret, because someone else has said it perfectly. Here, from Jared Bernstein over at Huffpost, is another great reason why McCain should never be President of the United States:
"McCain's Pain, self-inflicted version: McCain also hit us with some straight talk re Social Security this week, calling the program a disgrace. What he specifically found disgraceful was the fact that today's young workers sacrifice a portion of their paychecks to finance the guaranteed pensions of today's retirees. But that's the program.
To me, the quote sounded like he just discovered that this is how it works. But Social Security is the biggest single program we fund; at $600 billion, it's one-fifth of the damn budget. And he's been up there for almost 30 years. I'm not saying I want a policy wonk for president. But this betrays a scary lack of understanding of basic government functioning.
It also betrays something deeper. The intergenerational dimension of Social Security is one the wonderful things about it...sorry if I sound sentimental, but this part just always chokes me up. When they were younger, today's retirees worked to create the economy we have today. They produced the capital, the infrastructure, they taught us in our schools, and treated us in our hospitals. We've inherited these goods, public and private, and we're using them to create the growth that our families enjoy today. Under Social Security, we shave off a portion of that growth to help provide for those who came before us, while creating a new economy for our progeny, who will do the same for us ("Circle of Life" music swells up here...).
To the extent that McCain's thinks about stuff like this, he's a YOYO economist (you're on your own), which is why he wants to drain the risk pool that makes Social Security work, and introduce private accounts. Further evidence that the YOYOs are congenitally unable to appreciate anything that smacks of WITT (we're in this together)."
One thing missing is an analysis of the WHY McCain is doing this. Seems to me like he's trying to horn in on Obama's youth vote - by pissing them off. My best guess is that the campaign conversation went something like this:
"Hey, Big John, we got a great idea! Let's bring all those whacked out Kool-Aid drinking kids that are supporting Obama over to you by telling them that Social Security is robbing them, that they're being screwed by helping old people! Huh, huh - waddaya think? Brilliant, right!"
And Big John looked up from his plate of ribs and said: "What's Social Security?"
All in all, another brilliant campaign move by McCain and Company. Glad they had that little management shake-up. Seems to have put them back on track. To lose.