Thursday, March 03, 2005

Thomas Geoghegan: Human Slug?

I just read Thomas Geoghegan's piece in Slate about why he's against Bush's social security plan to allow personal accounts. It doesn't happen often, but I think I'm at a loss for words. I guess 'disgusted' might be the closest word to it. Let me see if I can sum up my thinking.

There are two fundamental premises Geoghegan argues from:

1)He doesn't like personal accounts because he doesn't want to take the effort to make sure he will have money to retire on.


2)He doesn't know if there's a problem with the system, but he'd rather not think about it.

Am I over-simplifying? I'll let you decide.

Geoghegan writes:

"Under the Bush plan, we'd be partly responsible. We'd have to hatch our own nest eggs. It's one more job the Republicans would give to us. This is my gripe against the Bush plan: I've already got enough to do...In real life, we ignore our Social Security. That's the glory of it. We have the freedom not to think about it. With all the time I have not to think about my "private" account, I can turn on the Cubs game. Or open up Kafka.

I can even pray, if I want."

He adds,

"Privatization is one more damn thing to distract and upset me. I read a bit less...I volunteer a bit less...In one way or another, I spend less time being responsible for other people because I'm more responsible for me. I don't like it."

So let me get this right, Mr. Geoghegan. You don't want to be bothered with the ability to manage your own personal savings because you'd rather go read Frank Kafka and maybe sit on your couch and watch a baseball game? (Of course, the sarcasm drips off his statement about 'praying' which is why he goes out of his way to set it as its own paragraph. I think we can safely assume that he doesn't have time to meditate about his own existence, which in his case actually might be a good thing. I wouldn't want him getting 'upset.')

Can you imagine what our country and economy would be like if such laziness was encouraged? I wonder if Geoghegan has children. If so, does he have the same attitude about saving for their education? "Well, you know Billy. I know you'd like to go to college, but frankly, I just got sucked into Hillary's memoirs, and then there was all those Cubs games -- 162 of 'em every year actually. I'm afraid I just couldn't find the time to save any money for you. But hey, just don't think about it, k? Hey! The Cubs are on!"

I really am curious as to how Geoghegan, who apparently is a lawyer, ever made it through law school. How can one find the time to study when Metamorphisis is just dying to be read.

I am appalled that Geoghegan is even given a chance to promote his pathetic viewpoint in such a mainstream and major opinion-outfit like Slate.

Most disgustingly, during his primary argument, he states:

"Oh, sure, at these presidential drop-in discussions in Fargo, N.D., a cop or cook will say, "I worry Social Security won't be there for me." But come on, they don't really worry. If they did, they'd open a damned savings account."

What a smug a**hole. Hey Tom. I realize that while you are raking in the dough and writing books about how great of a lawyer you are (in between Cubs games, of course), you may not interact with "the little man," but not everyone is as rich as you are. That cop who you're calling a liar doesn't make six figures like you. He isn't giggling with glee over turn-of-the-century writers, because he has to worry about putting his kids through college. He worries about social security because he knows he can't save enough to guarentee his retirement security.

Geoghegan says he's "exhausted." He begs for no more privitization unless he can "do it while he drives." I guess driving from book signing to book signing in your mercedes probably is pretty tiring, huh Tom?

Geoghegan closes talking about the future of the current Social Security system. He writes,

"But what if the existing system is doomed? Of course, being a liberal, I don't believe it. Raise the amount of payroll tax that Bill DeWitt and Mercer Reynolds have to pay, and the crisis goes away. At any rate, at this point no one knows the extent to which we may or may not be in trouble in the future. That's also the glory of Social Security: not to know."

So it's glorious to potentially be on the brink of a total system failure that would leave millions of elderly Americans without any financial support? Well, one things for certain in the realm of not knowing, Tom. You haven't got a clue.

Geoghegan decries the Right for claiming that people like him are lazy "slugs." His article proves that that is exactly what he is.

[Note: Fixed Formatting]