Policy Note 2005/2 | February 2005
Manufacturing a Crisis
The Neocon Attack on Social Security
For seven decades, the far right has never veered from its avowed mission to gut America’s most comprehensive, successful, and popular safety net: Social Security. While it had won a few small battles (most notably, the Greenspan Commission’s huge 1983 payroll tax hikes and two-year increase in the normal retirement age), its efforts never gained much political traction before 2000. Ironically, the Clinton administration provided some much-needed support to the conservative think tanks’ preposterous claim that Social Security faces financial Armageddon. And candidate Al Gore’s only significant campaign issue involved maintaining “lockboxes” to protect the trust fund by dedicating a portion of projected 15-year budget surpluses to the program.