Worth Reading #2: Paul Krugman: Saving Ryan’s Privatization (March 16, 2010)
Saving Ryan’s Privatization: Rep. Paul Ryan['s]... Roadmap was hailed as the serious Republican response to America’s fiscal problems. But it turns out, predictably, to have been a Potemkin plan: it wouldn’t balance the budget, even after two generations. What it would do is massively redistribute income upward.... Naturally, Ryan’s response to these revelations has been a hissy fit.... But I’d like to follow up on small but revealing point: Ryan’s claim that diverting a substantial share of payroll taxes receipts into individual accounts does not constitute partial privatization of Social Security. You see, there’s a history here. Back when the Cato Institute first began pushing for individual Social Security accounts, it called its push, well, The Project on Social Security Privatization... [but] “privatization” polled badly. So the project was renamed The Project on Social Security Choice. And Republicans began bristling at any suggestions that they were proposing privatization, calling that a slander. Really.... Cato engaged in Orwellian tactics — deleting the term “privatization” from older web posts and even from records of old conferences. But they were sloppy; there were traces of the true history throughout. I don’t know if they’re still continuing the practice. In any case, Ryan’s attempt to deny that what his own movement used to call privatization is, in fact, privatization should settle the question of his sincerity.