Americans have got to understand that. Americans have got to understand that we are paying present-day retirees with the taxes paid by young workers in America today. And that's a disgrace. It's an absolute disgrace and it's got to be fixed.
As Avedon puts it at Eschaton, "McCain thinks the problem with Social Security is that it's Social Security."
This is a gift, manna from heaven to the Obama campaign. McCain is now on record declaring that he is fundamentally ignorant about one of the most successful and popular government programs in history.
To add some funny to the stupid, McCain's spokesfolks are trying to spin away all the idiocy, and in so doing only shining a bright hot spotlight on it. Again, Talking Points Memo has the "clarification":
[T]he disgrace is our failure to fix the long-run imbalance in Social Security -- a failure of leadership evidenced by our willingness to kick to problem to the next generation of leaders. He's also describing the looming and increasing demographic pressures confronting the Social Security system and Washington's utter failure to address it.
Now, Josh Marshall's adept deconstruction of the bullshit coming from the McCain camp, which follows directly from the above quoted blurb:
Now, this goes against the plain meaning of the words. But everybody has words come out the wrong way sometimes, or they say things they don't really quite mean. IN other words, if it's just tripping over your words, who cares. But digital video recording is a wonderful thing. And that's why we can know pretty clearly that Rogers' explanation is bogus and that this is precisely what McCain meant.
The townhall meeting where McCain said Social Security was "an absolute disgrace" was on Monday in Denver. Just yesterday McCain went on CNN and said more or less exactly the same thing on CNN.
In response to a question from CNN's John Roberts, McCain said, "Let's describe it [i.e. Social Security] for what it is. They pay their taxes and right now their taxes are going to pay the retirement of present-day retirees. That's why it's broken, that's why we can fix it."
He doesn't use the flamethrower language of "absolute disgrace" but he says very clearly that what's wrong with Social Security -- "why it's broken" -- is the way it was designed to work and has worked for almost 80 years, because it's a pay-as-you-go system, "pay their taxes and right now their taxes are going to pay the retirement of present-day retirees." In other words, there's no question that John McCain thinks that the problem with Social Security is the way it was designed at the very beginning, the way it was always designed to work. Sometimes he just uses more flowery language than others.
Straight talking maverick on the loose!