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« Social Security: A Sacred Intergenerational Pact? | WILLisms.com | The Blogosphere: Interconnected, But Segmented. »

Rock The Vote Strikes Again.


Yesterday, WILLisms.com received an email from Hans Riemer (who is incidentally nearing his mid-30s), of Rock the Vote, a group that makes increasingly laughable claims of non-partisanship:

Dear Rock the Vote Supporter,

Do you believe everything that politicians tell you? Of course you don't.

WILLisms.com has noted Rock the Vote's oozing cynicism and blatant partisanship in a previous post. In predictable fashion, Rock the Vote begins with a trite little diddy that matches its standard talking point: "they" are out to get you.

But if you think that Social Security is going to disappear one day, you're falling for it. You see, a lot of politicians and special interests are trying to convince you that you'll never get yours.


What a patronizing, condescending, Al-Gorean schoolmarmish way to look at it! Hans Riemer and Rock the Vote are asserting here that if a young person has looked at all the facts and comes to the only reasonable conclusion (that the system is not solvent for the WILLisms.com generation), it's all a trick, and the duped invidual must not be smart or informed enough to see through it.

Fact is, they just don't want to pay your benefits. They want to spend the money on something else.

Ah, the ubiquitous and nebulous "they," always a nice scapegoat. Reformers do want people to receive benefits, and that's the whole point of reform. The guaranteed benefit cut that will happen without reform is what reformers want to prevent from happening.

Also, no reformer wants to "spend the money on something else." That doesn't even make sense. Seriously, what does that even mean? Most Social Security reformers want to unencumber that part of the economy, not merely shift it to some other program.

And if you don't get involved now, that's just what they'll do. They're sitting down now to make decisions, and they are counting on your staying quiet.

Actually, Hans, that's what you and your weird liberal colleagues are counting on. You are counting on the apathy of younger voters, the group with the most at stake, to prevent any kind of popular groundswell for personal accounts.

What better way to take your money away than to convince you that you'll never get it anyway? It's a masterful plan!

Hans, you're sarcasm is oh-so 1995. That must be because you are no longer part of any reasonable definition of the "youth cohort." Yes, Hans, you are out of touch. Old. No longer intimately connected to the feeling of the under-30 crowd.

Here's a fact you need to know. The current Social Security tax, left alone, brings in enough money to pay 75-80% of benefits for your entire lifetime. And its [sic] 100% paid for the next 40-50 years.

Here are some better facts:

1. In 2018, just 13 years from now, the projected OASDI tax income will begin to fall short of outlays, Social Security Trustees have said.

2. Also, by 2042, 37 years from now, the funds that will have been accumulating (in the "trust fund" in the form of government promises, not any kind of actual account) will be sufficient to finance only 73 percent of scheduled annual benefits.

In other words, if someone was born in 1981, he will still have 6 years (and probably several more if there are no personal accounts) before benefits start rolling in from Social Security. In 2048, the person born in 1981 will only collect 73% of promised benefits, unless there is another substantial tax increase or the retirement age is raised by several years, well into one's upper 70s.

This information is readily available from the Social Security Administration and the Congressional Budget Office. But you'd never know it from the news.

Yes, that conservative media just dominates the news.


Rock the Vote is so disingenuous. They say that "its [sic] 100% paid for the next 40-50 years."

Wrong. At best, they could argue it is paid for over the next 37 years, but that is still a very real stretch of the facts.

Rock the Vote also says the current system, "brings in enough money to pay 75-80% of benefits for your entire lifetime."

Wrong. Since when does 73% equal "75-80%"? And since when is that acceptable? Is the reader of the Rock the Vote email supposed to see that statement and say, "oh, okay, I will only take a hit of 1/5 or 1/4 of the benefits promised to me, that's no big deal," or what?

The fact is, there is no reason to allow that to happen. We could raise retirement age drastically, or raise taxes drastically, or cut benefits drastically, but why would we? Those solutions are not permanent and self-sustaining, and they would be lousy for the economy.

We can do better. And we will do better, despite the best efforts of Rock the Vote to derail reform.

Don't let anyone take advantage of you. Get educated. Learn the facts. http://action.rockthevote.org/ctt.asp?u=1710087&l=6393

At Rock the Vote, we are gearing up for a huge national campaign to give young people a voice on Social Security as the President and Congress sit down to make changes that will affect our lives.

We want to give you the strongest voice possible by arming you with the facts and the talking points. We want you to talk directly with Members of Congress, the press and most importantly, other young people.

Don't sit on the sidelines on this one-it's the biggest issue facing America at home and you have a lot at stake. Take the time to find out why.

The people most responsible for taking advantage of young people in this debate are people like Hans Riemer, over 30, purporting to speak on behalf of young people, when in fact, their agenda is harmful to the interests of those under 30.


Hans Riemer
Rock the Vote: Political Power for Young People

P.S., if you want more information about the future funding of Social Security, check out the National Academy of Social Insurance at http://action.rockthevote.org/ctt.asp?u=1710087&l=6387

Like clockwork, Rock the Vote points us to a "nonpartisan" but ideologically liberal think tank.

GET THE GEAR http://action.rockthevote.org/ctt.asp?u=1710087&l=6388

The gear is amazingly lame. They have a trucker hat, for example, which was so 2003:


If Rock the Vote really loved Social Security, they would want to reform it rather than excusing drastic guaranteed benefit cuts as no big deal. If Rock the Vote really wants to become the "AARP of our generation," they might want to start by representing the interests of our generation, rather than fighting so far to protect the old establishment orthodoxies that dominate left-wing politics today.

Posted by Will Franklin · 11 March 2005 05:00 PM


I have to say how really obvious the entire left wing is. It is as if as a rule; they have not learned from history that communism never has, never will ever work. The more government we have in our lives just makes life most unpleasant!!!

Let's not forget Mao Tse Tung... Not to mention Stalin, and Hitler... Castro, Saddam Hussein.

Posted by: Linda Franklin at March 12, 2005 02:40 PM