Wall Street May Lose Bet on Bush
To Loot Social Security
by Paul Gallagher
In an unprecedented mobilization of the kind which did not occur during the 2004 Presidential election, virtually all Democratic Senators and Representatives are holding town meetings in their districts during February, against President George W. Bush's scheme to loot Social Security. In Michigan, 15 town meetings are being held by Representatives Sander Levin, Debbie Stabenow, John Dingell, Carolyn Kilpatrick, and state constituency groups; five Ohio Representatives are holding another dozen. One said, "I think we're going to beat Bush on this; we've gotten 2,700 letters against it, and one phone call for it."
The unified mission of all these Democrats is clear—defeat Bush's Social Security theft, the top-priority mission Lyndon LaRouche laid out for the Democrats last Dec. 16. Their town meetings' open-debate character contrasts with the careful pre-screening of audiences for Bush's Social Security privatization meetings. Congressman Jim Moran's Feb. 7 public meeting in Alexandria, Virginia, for example, was attended by nearly 400, including some who supported Bush's privatization scheme, while most backed Moran's strong opposition. When Moran raised the key question—"Why is Bush trying to dismantle Social Security?"—LaRouche Political Action Committee activists were able to answer it: Because in a dollar crash, Wall Street is demanding that markets be propped up by the world's largest cash flow.
The Democrats' united mobilization has been overcoming the President's. Bush's first barnstorm tour, right after his State of the Union speech, tried to target "vulnerable" Democrats to support him. But those Democrats, backed by their own constituency meetings, like Sen. Max Baucus's Feb. 5 Montana town meeting of 350, did not bend. In the second week of February, the White House found itself targetting dissenting Republicans instead! When the Wall Street-funded Club for Growth began its $10-15-million TV ad campaign for privatization on Feb. 9, the first Congressional districts targetted by the ads were those of Republicans—Sherwood Boehlert of New York, Joseph Schwartz of Michigan, and Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island. Bush himself, by Feb. 10, was hitting Pennsylvania to try to get cooperation from Senate Republican leader Arlen Spector. Republican Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite of Florida, after hosting the President for a meeting in her district, publicly refused to support his looting scheme.
Hanging over the Republicans is Vice President Cheney's Feb. 6 Fox TV statement ("it will cost trillions"); OMB Director Joshua Bolton's admission to the House Ways and Means Committee on Feb. 8 that Bush's scheme would cut Social Security revenues below required benefit payouts "within the next decade"; the Bush 2001 Commission's plan for benefit cuts of 20-45% over coming decades; and the public's clear fear of Wall Street "Enron-omics." As of Congress's first full week ending Feb. 11, the Bush drive for privatization was stalled because Republicans were pleading for "more specifics" from the White House, which could not, and said it would not, give them. Senate Finance Committee chairman Charles Grassley of Iowa told Treasury Secretary John Snow on Feb. 9 in the Senate, "We are not in a position to force through the President's agenda."
LaRouche Strategy Working
Lyndon LaRouche's powerful call on Columbus, Ohio radio on Dec. 16—for national action to pull together "the Democratic Party of President Franklin Roosevelt" to stop George W. Bush from stealing the Social Security of the American people—has been extraordinarily effective. LaRouche's forecast that Bush, pressured by looming financial collapse, would go on an immediate mad-bull charge to "steal Social Security for Wall Street"—was put forward as a chance to bring Bush down. Refuse to "negotiate" Social Security with that mad bull; adopt a united mission to defeat Bush on it; and sane Republicans will have to deal with the consequences, LaRouche advised.
From Christmas to Feb. 10, LaRouche caused circulation of 600,000 of the first edition of an anti-privatization LaRouche PAC pamphlet across the United States. The Democrats have been able to re-emerge in a unified resistance which is threatening to defeat Bush and make him an instant lame duck, as LaRouche emphasized. He has made the issue of George Shultz's "Chile model of fascism" so central, that when the New York Times of Jan. 27 ran a front-page exposé of what a disaster Chile's Social Security privatization has been, ABC News immediately noted that the Times was "borrowing a page from Lyndon LaRouche." Democratic Rep. Xavier Becerra of California attached that Times article to a "dear colleague" letter to the entire House of Representatives (see Documentation). Bush's use of Chile as a supposedly successful model, has been destroyed.
Democrats in Congress show extraordinary unity and have picked up the banner of Franklin Delano Roosevelt—deliberately stashed away by party bureaucrats in recent years—to fight to defeat Bush on Social Security. A key turning point came when Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, after announcing on Feb. 1 that "no Democrat" would support Bush's attempt to steal Social Security, answered the President's Feb. 2 State of the Union with a Rooseveltian proposal for a "Marshall Plan for America, to rebuild America's economic infrastructure." Reid is preparing "Marshall Plan" legislation.
On Feb. 3, "standing outside the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, Senators Reid, Schumer, and members of the Senate Democratic Caucus presented a united front to fight against the President's plans to send the national debt skyrocketing by privatizing Social Security.... The Senators today invoked the image of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt who pioneered Social Security."
When Administration representatives presented the Fiscal 2006 budget to Congress Feb. 8-9, Democrats led by Charles Rangel (N.Y.) and John Spratt (S.C.) remained completely focussed on defending Social Security. Rangel declared Bush's scheme "dead," and challenged Treasury Secretary John Snow on how he could say Social Security—which has a large surplus—is bankrupt, while insisting that the Federal budget—more than $500 billion in deficit—is not (see Documentation). The effect of the Democrats' unified focus was such, that it was a number of Congressional Republicans who came out against Bush's budget cuts.
The Cheney-Bush White House—still hell-bent to force through the Congress this year the diversion of Social Security to Wall Street—is being compelled toward a strategy of doing so by enforcing a strict party-line Republican vote in both Houses.
That is just what Congressional Republicans do not want. If citizens are mobilized nationwide by this pamphlet of LaRouche and by their own state and national elected representatives, Congressional Republicans voting for a fascist economic takedown of Social Security would face wholesale election defeat in 2006.
On Feb. 10, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California said, "I don't think [Bush is] making that much progress, but that doesn't mean we won't continue to be relentless, on the floor of the House, on the road, on the Internet, and any opportunities we have."
Wall Street's Right Wing Is Chafing
Wall Street-funded think-tankers were criticizing Bush on Feb. 8-9 at the Cato Institute's two-day conference on Social Security in Washington, for not being willing to take the public lead on cutting Social Security benefits. Wall Street and the Boston "Vault" bankers are running the White House scheme from the inside, confirmed John Shipman of State Street Bank, Cato Institute, and Carriage Partners Ltd. The Wall Street forces not only want the Social Security money; they want big benefit cuts. "We have to say, Your future is lower benefits, greater leverage," said Kent Smetters of the Wharton School of Business.
Cato spokesman Michael Tanner raved, "Social Security is a lie.... There is no legal right to benefits. If people take away only this, from this conference, we will have succeeded."
"The interest [on the Treasury Bonds held by the Social Security Trust Fund] is a fiction," said Thomas Saving of the Cato-linked National Center for Policy Analysis. "535 people could decide at any time" to lower or abolish that Treasury obligation and gouge Social Security, said Saving—who, incredibly, is now a Trustee of the Social Security Administration!
The Wall Street/Cato crowd is lurking in Congress with its own "extreme privatization" schemes. After Bush exhausts himself scaring Americans about the "coming collapse of Social Security," these schemes would turn the entire payroll tax over to Wall Street, reduce benefits for remaining retirees and pay them by huge new Federal borrowing—on Wall Street.
The American people, at town meetings and in debates across the country, are hearing fundamental issues of FDR's "General Welfare" legacy, vs. fascist economic looting and "every man for himself" economics, raised by LaRouche Youth Movement leaders, and sometimes by elected officials and by ordinary citizens, for the first time in years. Despite being hit by an incredible barrage of scare-propaganda from the White House and Wall Street committees—often repeated as "facts" by news media, Americans in national polls continue to oppose privatization of Social Security.
The LaRouche Youth Movement is participating in scores of Congressional town meetings nationwide, and the LaRouche movement's conferences in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles on Presidents' Day weekend were to be major events in defeating the "foot in the door to fascism."