Hardball Takes a Nosedive on the Soc. Sec. Debate

OK, with Stephen Moore v. Robert Reich, I was not expecting much from Wednesay’s show , but this is beneath pathetic:

MATTHEWS: Two top economic minds are with me here, Stephen Moore, president of the Club For Growth, a conservative political action committee, and Robert Reich, labor secretary in the Clinton administration and now professor of social and economic policy at Brandeis…Well, it‘s the Titanic headed to the iceberg, Chris.

We‘ve got a situation where every independent study that‘s been done for the last 10 years, whether the General Accounting Office or even the Social Security actuaries themselves, all say that there‘s a $10 trillion hole in this system. That is, the taxes that are going to be collected are not going to be able to cover $10 trillion in unfunded liabilities in the system.

So we need to fix it. We need to move towards a modern system with these private investment accounts. For young workers, it‘s a fabulous deal. They are going to get a much better deal if they can control some of this money themselves than what they‘re going to get out of a failed, even insolvent Social Security system.

MATTHEWS: Do you accept that prognosis, Robert?


Chris, the Social Security trust fund is not in great shape. But compared to Medicare, it is in terrific shape.

MOORE: Well, any company—first of all, if any company were running a pension fund that were anything like Social Security, we‘d throw these guys in jail, the CEOs in jail, because we‘ve stolen about $600 billion—that‘s billion with a B—from this supposed trust fund. Young people…

MATTHEWS: How did we do that? How did the government do that?

MOORE: What happened was, as the payroll dollars were coming in, Chris, both Republicans and Democrats—they both share the blame—took that payroll tax money that was supposed to be for Social Security and guess what? They spent it on other programs. They spent it on missile systems. They spent it on Lawrence Welk museums. They spent it on road projects.

MATTHEWS: But didn‘t they pay—didn‘t they borrow the money from the system and that went back into the system?

MOORE: Yes, but you go to the bank vault, Chris, and all you see when you open up the bank fault is a bunch of IOUs. Where‘s the money going to come from?

So let’s summarize – it’s really those tax cuts for the rich that Stephen Moore supported leading a General Fund that has to raid the retirement accounts. Can Mr. Reich bother to point this out? I’ve given up on Stephen Moore has an ounce of integrity. I’ve given up on Chris Matthews understanding the basics of this debate. But could he have on folks who understand this issue for more than one day. Or maybe he should just let Paul Krugman host his show and have Chris go into another line of business. Please!

Memo to MSNBC: Stephen Moore is not an economist. And I’m beginning to wonder about Robert Reich as well.