Thursday, February 03, 2005


Discussing his plans for Social Security, President Bush said rather an audacious thing last night in his State of the Union address: “We have to move ahead with courage and honesty, because our children’s retirement security is more important than partisan politics.”

This is hardly a president known for “honesty,” so it’s a safe bet that if he uses the word, a lie of undreamt-of proportions is about to be thrust upon the nation.

Bush and his administration are very good at this stuff. But I would bet my life, literally, if it came to it, that privatization plans for Social Security would collapse completely after a single debate: two hours, say, with no breaks; broadcast nationwide on free television in prime time; all pertinent questions answered immediately; with immediate vetting and reality checks by attending nonpartisan Social Security trustees and representatives from the General Accounting Office; with any number of administration officials, be it 10 or 100; against Paul Krugman.


I’m going to e-mail Krugman, the New York Times columnist and economics professor, and suggest that he issue an invitation. If you want to join in, he can be e-mailed at

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