Fairy-Tale Social Security Policy

Dave Johnson

Lots of kids believe in Santa Claus. This is because people repeat the fable to kids over and over, telling them that Santa Claus will deliver presents to them if they’re good. And then there’s the Boogeyman, the “amorphous embodiment of terror.” In some regions stories of the Boogeyman are repeated and repeated, and to keep the Boogeyman away little children do what they are told.

A popular Boogeyman is “Social Security is going broke.” This fable originated from a 1983 Cato Institute Journal document, “Achieving a Leninist Strategy” by Stuart Butler of Cato and Peter Germanis of the Heritage Foundation. The document laid out a long-term strategic plan to dismantle Social Security. Part of the idea was to manufacture public beliefs like those we hear repeated (and repeated and repeated) today, “Social Security is going broke” and “Social Security is a Ponzi scheme.”

Meanwhile a popular Santa Claus myth tells the pubic that energy independence can be achieved at low cost if only we would open up more land (and sea) to oil drilling.

Enter Rick Berg, candidate for Congress in North Dakota. Berg is proposing to scare away the Boogeyman by bringing in Santa Claus to fight the good fight. News story, Berg proposes Social Security fix,

Drilling for oil underneath western North Dakota’s Theodore Roosevelt National Park and other federal lands nationwide could be a way to ensure Social Security funding for the long haul, Republican U.S. House challenger Rick Berg said.

During a meeting with The Forum’s editorial board Wednesday, Berg discussed his ideas for how to make the Social Security system viable for future generations. He said one option is drilling for oil and other mineral resources on federal government land.

Oh yeah, there is one more thing that is repeated over and over. The other day I wrote, “The way a lobbyist argues for or against anything today is to say it will create or cost jobs.” And right on queue, here’s Berg:

Berg told the editorial board his proposal was just one way the government could add more money into the Social Security system.

“It needs to be solvent, and I’m supporting putting more money in that — mineral money in there — and getting people working again,” he said.

Yes, that’s the ticket. Santa Claus fights the Boogeyman, and delivers jobs. All we have to do is open up national parks to oil drilling.

Social Security isn’t broke, doesn’t need fixing, and the last thing we need is more drilling. We need a Renewable Energy Standard and we need to set a price on carbon to trigger the new green technology revolution, get us off of oil and coal and create millions of jobs.

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