McCain’s Disgrace

In case you missed it, John McCain is now on record as saying that Social Security, or at least the way it’s funded, is a “disgrace.” Now you can be outraged that McCain thinks Social Security is a disgrace, but that doesn’t strike me as a problem. Lots of richer people don’t really like Social Security, and the Republican Party and conservative movement have been building towardsa takedown for a long time. That really shouldn’t surprise anyone. What I think is most important here is that McCain obviously has no idea how Social Security works. You can obviously tell that he just recently discovered this, and seems to think it’s a new development. But of course, that’s how the system has been funded as long as Social Security has been around. And that’s why the most glaring problem with Bush’s plan to privatize the system (and, subsequently, how you knew the budgetary nonsense was bullshit) was the huge cost to transition. If FICA taxes were diverted to private accounts, more money had to come from somewhere else to pay the current beneficiaries. Anyway, I think Ezra put it best:

There are criticisms that people make of Social Security, most of them relating to a mismatch between the program’s revenue and its future obligations. But McCain’s comment is very different. It’s like if lots of people made fun of one guy’s car because it was broken down, ugly, and lacked headlights. Then one of the dimmer members of the group, sensing an opportunity to jump in, piped up with, “yeah, four wheels and an engine? What’s with that!? When you gonna do something about that!?” Everyone would sort of look at the guy for a moment while they registered that this person didn’t understand how a car worked. Now imagine that this person was applying to run an auto shop. And people were taking his application seriously. That’s sort of the situation we’re in.

But even that doesn’t go quite far enough in catching the obvious problem that dare not speak it’s name; John McCain has lived his entire life off of the government. That’s probably not kosher to point out, but at the moment it seems entirely necessary to point out, as the full scope of McCain’s ignorance of basic facts comes into focus. McCain’s father was a career Navy officer and, of course, the Senator followed in his footsteps before becoming a Senator (marrying an heiress worth $100 million+ alog the way for good measure). So McCain has never had to deal with any of the economic realities the overwhelming majority of Americans deal with every day. He’s never had to worry about holding a job through economic downturns, and neither has his wife for that matter. He’s lived off of government health insurance his whole life, although I’m sure that he taps into the wife’s bank account these days.

And before anyone gets hysterical on me, this is, of course, not to denegrate McCain’s life or service, which is of course admirable and should be lauded. But that doesn’t mean he’s entitled to be President in his ignorance. I think every firefighter everywhere is admirable and deserves the highest respect for what they do too, but that doesn’t mean I’d pay one of them with no clue about electrical systems to rewire my house does it? The same principle applies here; McCain’s life and service are admirable and deserve respect, but it doesn’t entitle him to jobs he’s not qualified for. And it’s quite obvious that John McCain just doesn’t know enough basic information to be President.