“Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan says Congress should deal with the country's escalating budget deficit by cutting benefits for future Social Security retirees rather than raising taxes.” [NY Times]
I've taken the Greenspan testimony and run it through the Washingtonese Translation Engine. Here's what he meant to say:
“Mr. Chairman, members of Congress, good afternoon.
Thanks to the tax cuts you've approved, and the war that the White House ordered up, the books are a mess. If you continue to spend money without having any, I'm not going to have enough to lend.
But, given this is an election year, nobody wants to raise taxes. Besides, given that most corporations are now hiding most of their income in tax havens overseas, we'd have to focus tax increases on wealthy individuals. And that means you, your wealthy contributors, and me. That would be “bad for the recovery.”
No, instead I suggest we just dispense with this stupid Social Security con you keep running on the American people. You know it's just part of the general fund, I know it, and everybody who reads the Wall Street Journal knows it. Besides, who can afford to retire these days anyway?
Instead, I suggest we cut benefits to those whining Boomers who will overwhelm the system in a few years and collapse the whole Ponzi scheme we've based Social Security on. Let's face it–they'd only waste the money anyway on crap made for WalMart by Chinese manufacturers, and all the money would go whooshing out of our tax base anyway.
I do have an alternative, however. In the long term, it would be cheaper to outsource the upkeep of the retired to countries with a better competitive advantage. So, I suggest we ship retirees to Mexico. There, they could be used to staff up the growing number of maquilladoras that our companies have been outsourcing work to, and subsist on the lower benefits comfortably without having to worry about expenses like high heating bills and prescription co-pays.
It's a win-win. The resulting drop in the burden on our medical insurance systems would mean dramatically lower costs to business for health benefits, and the sudden availability of large numbers of homes in urban areas would stabilize housing costs in our current bubble real estate market, offering better housing opportunities for guest workers and other immigrants.
Of course, you may decide to use my comments as a distraction to cover your own hedging on Social Security until after the elections. If so, fine. But I'll still be here after November. Hell, I can't afford to retire.