The Washington Post Wants Your Social Security to Pay for the War

Friday, 01 October 2010 08:40 By Robert Naiman, t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed | name.

The Washington Post Wants Your Social Security to Pay for the War
(Image: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: mag3737, Spc. Evan D. Marcy / US Army)

For The Washington Post, there's no such thing as a war that America can't afford.

In an editorial Wednesday, The Washington Post takes President Obama to task for being concerned about the cost of the war in Afghanistan and the fact that it conflicts with domestic priorities. That The Washington Post, a knee-jerk supporter of war for empire, would slam President Obama for this is the opposite of surprising. Nonetheless, what The Washington Post actually said in its editorial is still breathtaking:

Mr. Obama repeatedly cites the cost of the war and the need to shift resources to domestic priorities - though spending on Afghanistan is well below 1 percent of US gross domestic product.

We have been led to believe that official Washington is seized with urgency about long-term projections of US budget deficits. Yet, here is The Washington Post, downplaying the cost of the war in Afghanistan on the grounds that it is "well below 1 percent" of US gross domestic product (GDP).

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Logically, there are two possibilities.

One possibility is that The Washington Post is saying that, in the future, we can ignore any government expenditure or savings that amounts to less than 1 percent of US GDP as being too small to bother about.

The other possibility is that, according to The Washington Post, there are two standards for judging costs. One standard is for war, in which an expenditure of less than 1 percent of GDP is too small to bother about. The other standard is for domestic spending that benefits the majority of Americans, in which a reduction of government expenditure of less than 1 percent of GDP is something that should be seriously considered.

Considering The Washington Post's view of proposals to reduce the projected long term deficit in the unified budget by cutting Social Security benefits through raising the normal retirement age to 70, it's seems apparent that The Washington Post's view is the latter: if it's for war, less than 1 percent of GDP is a pittance, but if it's for America's working families, we can't afford it.

I asked economist Dean Baker how much raising the normal retirement age would be likely to save. He said it would be about 0.7 percent of GDP. Thus, according to the across-the-board "less than 1 percent of GDP" standard, this would be too small to bother with.

But that is not the view of The Washington Post. In a front-page news analysis on September 24, The Washington Post took Congressional Republicans to task for not "offering solutions" to "tackling the ever-growing cost of entitlement programs" in their "Pledge to America."

What's the very first example of a "solution" that The Washington Post complains the Congressional Republicans did not offer?

"raising the Social Security retirement age"

Therefore, the conclusion is clear. The Washington Post wants you to work until age 70 before collecting Social Security benefits - or receive reduced benefits for retiring earlier than age 70 - in order to pay for The Washington Post's sacred war in Afghanistan.

Last modified on Friday, 01 October 2010 08:57