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Paperback The Raw Deal: How the Bush Republicans Plan to Destroy Social Security and the Legacy of the New Deal Book

ISBN: 0976062127

ISBN13: 9780976062127

The Raw Deal: How the Bush Republicans Plan to Destroy Social Security and the Legacy of the New Deal

Social Security is facing the most serious, well-financed, and determined threat to its existence since its inception in 1935. For Americans to make sense of the barrage of conflicting messages on the... This description may be from another edition of this product.


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Outdated by events, but still worth reading

Given the current state of affairs in Washington, it's highly unlikely that Bush is going to be able to get very far with his plan to abolish..... (or "reform", as he puts it) Social Security. The Republicans aren't suicidal enough to bring this up before the midterm elections, and let us hope that the results of the elections will put the kibosh on this at least for a while. So the alarm that the book sounds is a bit outdated, since the public woke up to what was going on (at least partly thanks to books like this). But it's still worth reading as an expose of some of the tricks the Republican noise machine has been up to. My favorite episode involved the attempt to paint the stodgy AARP as pushing gay marriage (remember that one?). Let's hope people don't forget it!

Soc Sec Expert Says Conason is On the Mark!

I worked as an expert on US Social Security policy for 7 years in Washington, DC: 4 years at the Social Security Administration (Office of Policy) and 3 years as assistant director of Social Security policy research for a non-partisan Washington, DC non-profit organization. (Type "Kelly Olsen and Social Security" into any search engine if you're unconvinced that I know what I'm talking about here.) Two years after leaving public service in Washington, DC in 2003, I wrote an op-ed in the Asheville Citizen-Times (March 20, 2005, available online at in which I basically say in 900 words what Mr. Conason says in this book. The main difference between what I said in my op-ed and what's in this book is that Mr. Conason has the space to fill in the main details. Mr. Conason is onto the Republican elite's game of deception to undermine Social Security altogether. Andrew Biggs, who now heads up the Social Security Office of Retirement Policy under George W. Bush, actually wrote in 1999 (when he was not yet a political appointee) that "private accounts would sever the ties of middle-class and wealthy Americans to government assistance programs and diminish political support for social welfare programs." Mr. Biggs argued that "market investment of payroll taxes sets the stage for ... a new political culture that rejects government intervention in favor of individual and market freedom. In that way, Social Security reform featuring Personal Retirement Accounts doesn't send just one liberal sacred cow to the slaughterhouse. It sends the whole herd." Clear enough? It is important to note that the Republican elite's Social Security goals are far to the right of the desires of most Americans who identify themselves as Republicans. Alas, Conason's claim that the Republican elite are out to destroy Social Security is NOT liberal alarmist hype. Mr. Conason is right on the mark in his summary of the issue, and he has written an accessible and interesting book for citizens who want to educate themselves about how the current Republican party wants to undermine the most popular and administratively efficient social program in U.S. history, dish out money to their Wall Street friends in the process, and stick taxpayers with the tremendous transition costs of doing so. Mr. Conason's book is important because Social Security is a complex issue, and it's become more difficult for intelligent concerned citizens to gather the needed facts ever since the Social Security Administration started putting out its own pro-accounts political propaganda under George W. Bush. (Hey, your tax dollars at work, folks!) I've left public service, and I don't plan to ever go back to working on Social Security policy. I'm on no one's payroll, and I have no incentive to write this review (or to have read this book, for that matter) other than my continued concern that peopl

What Social Security reform will really do for--and to---America

Joe Conason continues providing the American public with much needed information in an era when many other news sources have all-too-conveniently decided to become mouthpieces. This time, he illustrates that the Bush administration plan to privatize Social Security will hurt a majority of Americans and very badly. Reading this book revisits the ongoing political battle of Social Security. Despite bipartisan support from the American people and a much smaller social welfare net than in many other Western democracies, opponents of Social Security insisted that this program would introduce fascism into American society. Poverty rates have drastically fallen among older Americans since the 1930's as a direct consequence of Social Security. However the right remains intent on privatization through "Individual Retirement Accounts". Make no mistake about it, the opponents of Social Security have not gone away, they are just trying to seduce the American voter through 'different' arguments to advance the same public policies. They are discovering that other people and organizations are already onto this plan. The nation's largest interest group organization, the AARP, and its 35 million members oppose the Bush administration's plan. However, rather than listening to the American masses, the G.W. Bush administration instead found another way to continue trying to justify its actions. That the president and his moneyed supporters are resorting to 'puppet organizations' which rely on slick images while commanding only a fraction (if that much) of grassroots support for this initiative really says just how unpopular the Bush proposal is. Social Security is so widely supported that even Evangelical Christians, Bush's 'foot soldiers' for many other causes--are also criticizing him. The only people who stand to benefit from this particular 'overhaul' of the Social Security system are the country's extremely wealthy heads of large corporations. They are hardly the `common people' whom the president claims to advocate for in his public speeches. Does it surprise anybody that many people in the `will benefit' group were also large donors to the two Bush presidential campaigns? I thought not. Privatizing Social Security offers no benefit to the country because it is a payback to Bush's political friends. Why should they care what happens to a majority of the American people as long as they get whatever they want. Research for this book stresses other conservative Republicans took different routes for complex reasons. Even Ronald Reagan's administration, for how conservative he was and how frequently his administration promised to bring America back to the 'good old days' knew enough not to keep pushing through their dream of dismantling Social Security. Additionally, Reagan's administration had enough political savvy to understand that stacking their 'study committee' in favor of people who all just happened to support privatization was a very bad

Bush Not Done Yet

Just saw on c-span last night a vice-president of Bank of America talking about how we need to get rid of social security, medicaid and medicare spending to offset Katrina. Why is BofA supporting Bush's destruction of SS? Another speaker on the program said these programs are the last thing we need to worry about since Bush's balance of payments situation (where foreigners buy our bonds to subsidize our consumption of foreign products) is so out of whack it's going to do us in first, before any of the other programs. BUT BUSH IS STILL TRYING DO DO IN THESE PROGRAMS AND GET RID OF THEM PERMANENTLY. He is such a crooked crony capitalist. He should be impeached along with Rove and DeLay.

A timely book on the most successful federal program of all time

Most reasonably aware individuals know that during his second term of office Bush has pushed social security "reform" harder than any other issue. Most will also be aware that the harder he has pushed, the less enthusiasm has been produced even within Republicans in Congress, some of whom have already declared Bush's push for privatization D.O.A., while the public at large has increasingly opposed all of Bush's efforts as they learn the details. Although Americans remain largely passive on most political issues, the great exception seems to be Social Security. An overwhelming number of Americans like Social Security and do not want to see any major alterations including no significant reduction in benefits. And given the devastation wrought in the Gulf Coast by Katrina, any significant shift to privatization by introduction of individual retirement accounts seems doomed, at least for now. Given all of this, is there still a need sounding the alarums about the Right Wing effort to destroy Social Security under the guise of "reform." The answer: yes. Although the Right seems temporarily thwarted in their attempt to gut social security, this was not merely a short term goal, but a hope dear to political conservatives and ultra free marketers stemming back to the 1930s. Bush may have wrongly read the political winds in assuming that his political capital would allow him to begin the gutting of social security, but it isn't a dream that extreme fiscal conservatives will give up any time soon. As Conason points out in this book, Social Security was the crowning achievement of the New Deal, a program that guaranteed that tens of millions if not hundreds of millions of Americans would enjoy at least one source of persistent and reliable income during their retirement years. By any measure it is both one of the most successful programs in the federal government as well as one of the most solvent and best administered. Despite profound mischaracterization by Bush and others ("lies" might be a more accurate though less polite word), it is by no means anywhere close to being "bankrupt" nor is it in any kind of trouble. So why the fuss? If it isn't, as Bush claims, broken, why the panic to "fix" it by shifting huge numbers of Americans away from social security to annuities that would be purchased by individual retirement accounts (annuities, it should be pointed out, that would have a fixed life and could run out before the life of the retiree, unlike social security)? Because it is the second largest item in the federal budget (the military annually receives around 50% after discretionary spending is considered). It is the largest program outside of the military overseen by the federal government. Fiscal hyper conservatives (I say "hyper" because even many fiscal conservatives persist in supporting social security) therefore hate social security because it is such a large hunk of the federal government, they hate it because it represents th
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