Whopper of the Week: National Republican Congressional Committee
Who said anything about privatizing Social Security?
" 'Privatization' is a false and misleading word insofar as it is being used by Democrats to describe Republican positions on Social Security. … It is very important that we not allow reporters to shill for Democrat demagoguery by inaccurately characterizing 'personal accounts' and 'privatization' as one in the same."
— Aug. 26 memo to GOP candidates from Steve Schmidt, communications director of the National Republican Congressional Committee, and Carl Forti, NRCC's deputy communications director.
"The simple truth is that 'privatization' has always been the word Republicans themselves used to describe their policy. That is, it was until they rather belatedly realized that their policy was killing them with voters."
—Joshua Micah Marshall, Sept. 5, on his political Weblog, Talking Points Memo.
"Gridlock may delay Social Security privatization[italics Chatterbox's] in whole or in part, but the Washington Establishment has decided that this is now going to happen. It may have to wait for a new president, but talk of reform is no longer punishable by political death. …"
—Americans for Tax Reform PresidentGrover Norquist,"The New Politics of Social Security," in the Feb. 1999 issue of the American Spectator.
"[T]here are now three litmus-test economic-policy issues that neatly separate the Reagans from the Rockefellers: dramatic tax reduction and simplification, school choice, and Social Security privatization [italics Chatterbox's]."
—Club For Growth President Stephen Moore, "Loss Leaders," in the Nov. 1998 issue of the National Review.
"The push to convert Social Security into a system of personal accounts has been led by the Cato Institute. The Bush plan emerged directly from Cato's project on the subject, several members of Mr. Bush's commission on Social Security reform had close Cato ties, and much of the commission's staff came straight from Cato. You can read all about Cato's role on the special Web site the institute set up, socialsecurity.org.
"And what's the name of the Cato project to promote personal accounts? Why, the Project on Social Security Privatization, of course."
—Paul Krugman, "The Bully's Pulpit," in the Sept. 6 New York Times.
Timothy Noah is a former Slate staffer. His book about income inequality is The Great Divergence.