Killing Privatization, Again


As Allen Sloan of the Washington Post reported last week, President Bush tried to sneak in Social Security privatization into his latest budget proposal. Much reference to the zombie that wouldn’t die and all of that. (Sloan made a good catch, although his remark that Social Security is any sense “unsustainable” is, of course, totally false.) It’s doubtful that Congress will want anything to do with that fiasco again. Just today, Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, blanched at even Bush’s more “modest” cuts to Social Security:

“I have no plans to pursue these proposals,” said GOP Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

The budget that Bush submitted to Congress on Monday proposes eliminating a $255 lump-sum death benefit that has been part of Social Security for more than 50 years. It also urges Congress to cut off monthly survivor benefits to 16- and 17-year-old high school dropouts.

Other Republican luminaries, such as Bill Frist and Dennis Hastert, praised Bush’s budget but specifically offered “no comment” on his measures to take away benefits from impoverished widows. It’s almost enough to make them seem all cuddly inside. Meanwhile, the official position around these parts is that Social Security needs to be expanded, not trimmed—in particular, disability insurance is sorely inadequate for hundreds of thousands of workers at present—but that doesn’t seem to be on the agenda right now.

One More Thing

And it's a big one. Mother Jones is launching a new Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on the corruption that is both the cause and result of the crisis in our democracy.

The more we thought about how Mother Jones can have the most impact right now, the more we realized that so many stories come down to corruption: People with wealth and power putting their interests first—and often getting away with it.

Our goal is to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We're aiming to create a reporting position dedicated to uncovering corruption, build a team, and let them investigate for a year—publishing our stories in a concerted window: a special issue of our magazine, video and podcast series, and a dedicated online portal so they don't get lost in the daily deluge of headlines and breaking news.

We want to go all in, and we've got seed funding to get started—but we're looking to raise $500,000 in donations this spring so we can go even bigger. You can read about why we think this project is what the moment demands and what we hope to accomplish—and if you like how it sounds, please help us go big with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate