It started earlier this year (as announced in this Wall Street Journal opinion piece co-written by Canada), but WNYC just picked up the story and Gotham Charter Schools ran with it last night on their "Remainders" list.
The gist is this:
Canada says rich people do not need Social Security and that money should be used for other things:
The country's existing entitlement programs are not just unaffordable, they are also profoundly unfair to those who are taking their first steps in search of opportunity. Social Security is one example. According to Social Security actuaries, the generational theft runs deep. Young people now entering the workforce will actually lose 4.2% of their total lifetime wages because of their participation in Social Security. A typical third-grader will get back (in present value terms) only 75 cents for every dollar he contributes to Social Security over his lifetime. Meanwhile, many seniors with greater means nearing retirement age will pocket a handsome profit. Health-care spending through Medicare represents an even less equitable story.
The government has an obligation, of course, to support needy seniors. But this pension system is ripe for common-sense reforms, including changing eligibility ages and benefit structures for those with greater means, ridding the Social Security disability program of pervasive fraud, and removing disincentives for those who would rather work in their later years.
Powerful, vested interests portray reformers as avowed enemies of seniors. But, the status quo is, in fact, tantamount to saddling school-age children with more debt, weaker economic growth, and fewer opportunities for jobs and advancement.
Canada calls his Social Security reforms "common sense reforms."
As soon as you hear the words "common sense" in anything a politician or a political hack like Canada says, you know you should hold your wallet because they're coming for it.
In this case, that's exactly what Canada is doing - by adding a means test to the program and by raising eligibility, he is looking to undercut the universality of Social Security and turn it into another poverty program like welfare or food stamps, one that many Americans will not feel any investment in because they won't be receiving any of the benefits from it.
That so-called common sense reform is actually a seed of destruction meant to rid of us of Social Security, not a "common sense reform" meant to help young people.
More than anything, young people these days are going to need Social Security when they get older because very few of them are going to have pensions or be able to save money for their own retirements.
Here is what two commenters say about Canada's scheme:
Very troubling that WNYC aired this opinion without asking the obvious question - why not make a simple adjustment of the social security tax upper limit? The only way Mr. Canada's logic makes any sense is with the false ssumption that taxes on the wealthy must always continue to go down, until they are contributing almost nothing to the society which supplies their luxuries.
Means testing of these programs is a poison pill. If social security and medicare are not part of the financial goods of the wealthy and the upper middle class, they become welfare programs. It is easy to to take away from the powerless - look at the recent efforts to gut the food stamp program, for example.
Did I miss the part where Canada demands that the uber rich and corporations pay reasonable taxes to fund quality public services? Oops--forgot that he gets all his funding from "charity" of said same 1%, so makes more sense to demand that the 99% give up what little they have to fund his priorities.
If Geoffrey Canada wants older, rich people to help the younger generation, he can start by calling for a return to the tax rates of the Reagan Era on rich people or, better yet, he can call for a return to the tax rates of the Eisenhower Era on rich people.
Then that money can be used to fund college education, job programs, universal pre-K, etc. - all those things Canada says he's worried about.
The reality is, greedy Geoffrey Canada doesn't care one whit about young people or poor people.
He is simply doing the bidding of his billionaire benefactors, the same ones who fund his privatized charter schools and his real estate ventures.
As the commenter at the NYC story mentions, it's a shame that the public radio station gives this criminal air time to sell his poison pills.
But these days, the "public" radio station is being funded by the same Wall Street criminals that fund Canada and his charter operations, so it all makes sense.
Nothing more than free marketeer propaganda.