Taking the Fight To Where They Live, Part 3a:
There's one thing and one thing only that's driving any support among Americans for privatization of any portion of social security: we're a bunch of greedy fuckers who actually believe that some day we'll be rich. Every week, the Rude Pundit watches the pathetic sight of elderly people, day workers, and others head to the convenience store to pay five, ten, twenty dollars in scratch-off and lottery tickets. For the love of fuck, there's goddamn vending machines with scratch-offs. Once, the Rude Pundit asked Anonymous Decrepit Crone #58 why she spent so much on scratch-offs when she was obviously on a fixed budget. "Because it's fun," she said, because sometimes she wins ten bucks, and once, a friend of hers won a grand. It was sad, in an Ellen Burstyn in Requiem for a Dream kind of way, because you knew that, until the day she died or was so stroked out she was put in a chamber of horrors state home, ADC #58 was gonna spend those fuckin' pennies on the lottery, one of the greatest regressive taxes in the history of the country.
It's not so different for most Americans, who are so in denial about economic class that even the poorest backwards-ass country fucks shitting into holes in the floor think they're middle class. Cheap TVs, cheap cell phones, and cheap fast food are great equalizers, man. You jack that cheap shit into your veins, and, shee-it, you can watch Desperate Housewives while stuffin' yer face with Wendy's Triples and talkin' on yer Nokia camera phone, and, jee-zus, yer doin' just what nearly everyone else in the country's doin'. Of course you think you're middle class, asshole, because no one's gonna tell themselves they're poor. That's fer Paco, the illegal livin' in his apartment with twenty relatives, who picks your tomatoes for your Triples. You? You're a goddamned American, and while you can't afford a Lexus, you know that one day you're gonna make it big.
Except you're not. You're gonna live your life doing the same thing, every day, with little raises and constant cuts in your benefits, until the day you're forced to retire, if you're lucky, or laid off if you're not. Then it's the Wal-Mart for you, motherfucker, either way. Don't worry, though. Your speculation in Powerball tickets will pay off sooner or later. Gee, if only there was some kind of guaranteed income-- oh, wait . . .
President Bush and conservatives talk about the "ownership society," where individuals will have more control over their money and more opportunity to, well, own shit, like homes and retirement accounts. To believe in the ownership society is either denial in the extreme or, like WMDs, it's a convenient lie. David Brooks, who proves the rule that there's no conservative as pathetic as one who thinks he's doing good, tried to sell that fuckin' lie in his column last week. Privatization of Social Security (along with the flogging of the faux "crisis" in the fund) offers the same promise of the scratch-off: do this and you might get rich. (Check out Josh Marshall and Paul Krugman for all the details of this Ponzi scheme.) The notion is that all of a sudden you're gonna have a bunch of money to invest in the stock market where the miracle of capitalism is gonna enable you to spend your retirement on cruise ship sex tours of Thailand or in a Winnebago on Venice Beach instead of asking fat people if they need a shopping cart. It's gonna be like the Lotto, except with rising Alpo sales (there's a safe investment).
Yep, we're about to hear all about how fucked up Social Security is in the slash and burn way of the Bush administration: destroy something so it can be re-built in a conservative image. But remember this: you are not a rich person. Rich people have advisors, accountants, and others who help manage their money. You will have bureaucrats and Wall Street whores. You do not have the time or the knowledge to take care of this shit. The vast majority of rich people have diversified holdings, like real estate, bonds, offshore bank accounts, and more, so that if one part of their portfolio should fail, they have plenty to fall back on. You will have your other 70 percent of Social Security (and other retirement benefits, if corporate mismanagement hasn't dicked that over already). You can pretend you're rich or even upper middle class. But you are lying to yourself, and, you know, that's just pathetic, like a semen-covered feather queen on the men's room floor in a Boise gay bar.
You will never win the lottery. You will never get rich in the stock market, with your Social Security money or with your regular salary. Once you accept these ideas, the path becomes oh-so-shiningly, almost Zen-like simple and clear.
More on that path tomorrow.