McCain is a disgrace on Social Security

John McCain's most recent comments on Social Security are absolutely breathtaking in their stupidity.  He's admitted he doesn't really know much about economic policy, but this is ridiculous.

Asked by a young woman if she is likely to receive Social Security
benefits someday, McCain said it was unlikely “unless we fix it.”

“Americans
have got to understand that we are paying present-day retirees with the
taxes paid by young workers in America today,” he said. “And that's a
disgrace. It's an absolute disgrace, and it's got to be fixed.”

Matt Yglesias:

Of course in their day, present-day retirees were working and their tax
dollars were paying folks who were retired back then. And in exchange
for that service when they were workers, today's retirees get to enjoy
a secure retirement. Yes, on my dime. And in exchange I expect that
when I retire, ensuing generations will be there for me. I call it
generations looking after each other, so that those who built the
present with labors in the past get to enjoy some of the fruits of
their labor. The federal government calls it Social Security. John
McCain calls it a disgrace.

Kevin Drum:

This is nuts. McCain is talking as if he just figured out that this is
how Social Security works and he's scandalized by it. Needless to say,
though, this is the way virtually every retirement system in the world
works, and it works fine. What's more, if Social Security really does
turn out to have a shortfall in future years, it's easily fixed by a
very modest combination of higher taxes and reduced benefits ? exactly
the bipartisan, reach-across-the-aisle solution forged in 1983 that
McCain is constantly praising (and that he voted for as a freshman
congressman).

In short, this comment shows McCain to be either a) disgracefully stupid, or b) disgracefully dishonest.  I don't think there is a c), so take your pick. 

Jesse would approve

As we've been hearing so much lately about how Jesse Helms would always stand for what he believes in no matter the personal cost, perhaps he would appreciate this story:

RALEIGH –
L.F. Eason III gave up the only job he'd ever had rather than lower a flag to honor former U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms.

Eason,
a 29-year veteran of the state Department of Agriculture, instructed
his staff at a small Raleigh lab not to fly the U.S. or North Carolina
flags at half-staff Monday, as called for in a directive to all state
agencies by Gov. Mike Easley.

When a superior ordered the lab to
follow the directive, Eason decided to retire rather than pay tribute
to Helms. After several hours' delay, one of Eason's employees hung the
flags at half-staff.

The brouhaha began late Sunday night, when
Eason e-mailed eight of his employees in the state standards lab, which
calibrates measuring equipment used on things as widely varied as
gasoline and hamburgers.

“Regardless of any executive
proclamation, I do not want the flags at the North Carolina Standards
Laboratory flown at half staff to honor Jesse Helms any time this
week,” Eason wrote just after midnight, according to e-mail messages
released in response to a public records request.

He told his
staff that he did not think it was appropriate to honor Helms because
of his “doctrine of negativity, hate, and prejudice” and his opposition
to civil rights bills and the federal Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

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