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A common political epidemic: the foot-in-mouth disease
by David Farside
Aug 16, 2010 | 3750 views | 2 2 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
If you let politicians talk long enough, more than likely they will put their foot in their mouth. It's obvious the two experienced politicians in Nevada's U.S. Senate race have oversized political feet and an even larger rhetorical jaw with the capacity to chew on both feet at the same time. I would expect no less from Sen. Harry Reid or Sharon Angle.

Reid, in one of his frequent off-the-cuff remarks, said he couldn’t understand why anyone from a Hispanic background could be a Republican.

That’s like the Republicans saying only poor whites and African-Americans should be Democrats. The Republican Latinos came out of the woodwork attacking Reid for what they called a “racist” statement. Even some of the mostly white members of the Tea Party peeked out of their conservative worm holes and took a shot at Reid. It will be interesting to see how many Hispanic votes Reid gets on ballot day.

Angle is still trying to remove her foot from between her teeth on the issue of Social Security. First she states she wants to eliminate Social Security. Then she said she will work in the Senate to preserve the existing federal government’s Social Security program. Now she says she wants to privatize Social Security using Chile as an example.

In 1981, Augusto Pinocher, the right-wing dictator of Chile, privatized the country’s retirement fund. Salaried workers were required to contribute at least 10 percent of their wages into personal retirement accounts managed by private pension funds. The system seemed to work. Beginning in 1990, 10 other countries in Latin America, including Mexico, Argentina and Bolivia, adopted the “Chilean model” for their social security programs.

But facing the same dilemma  as government, Chile’s privatization of their social security plan didn’t work. In 2008, the government pension plan enrolled more than one-third of the working population and ended up subsidizing the losses incurred by privatization. Because of high management fees and an unpredictable economy in the private sector, privatizing a process for future retirement income just doesn’t work.

Angle’s only solution for Social Security solvency  is to "stop Harry Reid from raiding the Social Security trust fund.” True, the government has borrowed money from Social Security in the past to finance wars, but I don’t recall Reid voting to borrow from the trust fund – another example of Angle’s foot-in-mouth disease.

With all the debate on local immigration, taxes, jobs and education, the defining issue in the Senate debate might turn out to be the national issue of Social Security. While Angle supports a failed Chilean model for retirement funds, Reid defends our present Social Security structure as “the most successful social program in the world.” And he is probably correct. Last Saturday marked the 75th anniversary of President Franklin Roosevelt’s signing of the historic public retirement plan.

Last week, Reid attended a political rally held for him in Reno. He warned seniors that Angle's  plan to phase out Social Security was just another way of  ending Social Security. Reid said Angle uses “code words” like phasing out, personalizing and privatizing Social Security. They all have the same meaning and she wants to kill Social Security and kick seniors to the curb. I wonder if Reid was suggesting that Angle is mired in a philosophical Tea Party gutter. I also wonder if I have to check my old Dick Tracy code ring to fully understand what Angle’s code words really mean.

It’s funny. I remember when Chester Gould’s cartoon character Dick Tracy always wore his combined two-way radio and watch on his wrist. Today, we carry our two-way radio and timepiece in our shirt pocket. Gould, a right-wing advocate, was accused of using his character for his own political agenda, defending and shielding the power of the police at the expense of protecting the rights of the accused. Sounds like a few modern-day Republicans.

Instead of using a dictator’s scheme for Social Security, Reid pointed to three strategies to save Social Security. First, we have to honor the obligations of those who are counting on us. Second, we need to root out those who beat the system and then crack down on the cons who are bilking the system for more than $50 billion annually. Angle should ask Reid why he hasn’t taken his own advice and used his self-described three points as senate majority leader to save Social Security.

It’s apparent Angle doesn’t know anything about saving Social Security. It’s also obvious that Reid doesn’t have a clue on how to fix it. Meanwhile, they’re both sitting on the curb of rhetoric, searching for truth to end the epidemic causing their politically common foot-in-mouth disease.

David Farside is a Sparks resident and political activist. The polemics of his articles can be discussed at His Web site is
Comments-icon Post a Comment
August 18, 2010
David, This is no joke,The people in government are makeing a mess of this country.We need to get new people in there that work for us.

This country is going down and fast.

I in all my life have never seen a government so bad,The lieing,The anything to make a dill.

You cant trust the news,You cant trust the government.

This is no time to make jokes.

You may not like everything about Sharen Angle. But I dont like anything about Reid. I am sick of his Lie's
August 18, 2010
Obviously you don't know that Social Security is just another welfare program/Ponzi scheme that takes money from one group and gives it to another. It's been known from the start that it would go broke when all the baby boomers started collecting their welfare checks, but that didn't matter to politicians because it was somebody elses problem to fix. You call that a success, and I call it generational theft.
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