Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The accidental brilliance of Sean Hannity's lack of a brain

On Hannity's Sunday program he asked Kirsten Powers how the government that bankrupted Social Security could be expected to manage a universal health care program. What happened to the "lock box" Democrats promised, Hannity wondered.

Ok, let's walk through this, Mr. Hannity. Al Gore campaigned on putting the budget surplus in a "lock box." He did not become president, making it fairly difficult for him to follow through on that promise. The guy who did become president, George W. Bush, took the budget surplus and gave it back to the megawealthy while creating a budget deficit despite the protestations of both Alan Greenspan and his Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neal who wanted to use that money for future social security payments.

What's more, during the 1980s taxes were raised on the working classes to pay for the future projected social security deficit. Those taxes were then taken and used to mask the deficit created by increased spending under Ronald Reagan's administrations. To reiterate: the working class was taxed to pay for social security and then that tax revenue was then used to pay off a deficit created (in an admittedly bi-partisan manner) under a Republican president.*

This is how Sean Hannity being one of the stupidest political pundits in the country makes him so much money. He takes problems that have developed out of conservative governance and Democratic compliance and blames them exclusively on Democrats while suggesting Republicans are an alternative to the consequences of problems generated by Republicans. It's a scam that has worked for too long.

*Social Security surplus has been used since the Lyndon Johnson administration to help mask the federal deficit but what made this particularly egregious under Reagan was the covert regressive rigging of the tax system whereby the burden of paying off the deficit was shifted onto the middle class while using the resulting fiscal consequances as an argument for eliminating the social security safety net from these very same people.


Spocko said...

HG, Once again, a clear headed observation.

Hume's Ghost said...

Thanks, all though I wrote it off the top of my head and left out some other points that I'll follow up on tomorrow.

The biggest point I failed to mention was that the Social Security tax increase in the 80s was used to pay-off the deficit that resulted not only from increased spending under Reagan but from tax cuts in the highest income bracket. In other words, Social Security was turned - by a Republican president and a Democratic Congress - into a system that acted like Robin Hood in reverse, taking from the poor and middle class to give to the rich.

I also failed to answer Hannity's question.