The good news is that Bush’s social security privitization scheme hasn’t worked. The better news is why it hasn’t worked. Jon Chait explains:
The main reason is that the public is not quite as selfish as the conservatives thought.
The privatizers’ weakest assumption turned out to be their belief that the elderly would support privatization if they knew they wouldn’t be affected. For weeks, as polls have shown rising hostility to privatization, GOP pollsters and strategists have conceded that they need to do more to reassure seniors on this point. Bush has obligingly harped on it at every stop.
Yet senior citizens overwhelmingly oppose Bush’s approach. And it’s not because they think their benefits will be cut – polls show they overwhelmingly they buy his reassurances. As today’s Post reports:
By and large, the elderly do understand the president has promised not to touch their Social Security checks, according to polling.
But that is not relevant to their political opposition, Smorodin said, noting that older people also worry that pension benefit cuts will hurt their children and grandchildren.
At 69, Gene Wallace knows the White House’s proposal would have no impact on his Social Security check, but if Bush believes that will silence the Republican mayor of Coldwater, Mich., Wallace grumbled, "he’s all wet."
"I’m a parent as well as a grandparent. Somewhere along the line, they are going to be eligible for retirement assistance," he said, with all the energy he could muster three weeks after open-heart surgery. "It’s everybody’s concern what happens to this country."
I find this pretty heartwarming. Who wouldn’t?