A while back, Brother Jon started a great conversation about the “third rails” of American politics, those topics that apparently only the ballsiest or the stupidest politicians will take on with any honesty or significance.
On Monday in Denver, Senator McCain (the next president of the United States? — ready…fight!) took on the third rail of Social Security like I imagine formerly chubby Jared Fogle takes on a Subway sandwich: with gusto.
As the Washington Post reports:
“Americans have got to understand that we are paying present-day retirees with the taxes paid by young workers in America today. And that’s a disgrace. It’s an absolute disgrace, and it’s got to be fixed,” he [ed: McCain, not Fogle] said.
Later, McCain clarified and elaborated:
Young people, he said, “are paying so much that they are paying into a system that they won’t receive benefits from on its present track that its on, that’s the point.” [ed: “…on its present track that its on”? Well said.]
The Social Security trustees “have clearly stated its going to go bankrupt,” he said, adding that this is what he meant when he called the system a disgrace. “I don’t think that’s right,” he said. “I don’t think it’s fair, and I think it’s terrible to ask people to pay in to a system that they won’t receive benefits from. That’s why we have to fix it.”
I suppose one could argue that McCain A) is just plain wrong, B) doesn’t have an alternative plan or C) isn’t going far enough by considering “fixing it” when it should simply be shit-canned. I give him credit for taking it on, though. In fact, perhaps it makes McCain even balliser (stupider?) for taking the issue on without yet having articulated a plan to address the matter.