A few days ago George W. Bush got up in front of Congress and gave his State of the Union address for 2005.
He started off by reminding us how wonderfully the economy has been performing. I think he's got a point there. It's certainly true that I've never felt quite the same way about my job security since he was elected.
Without a doubt, the keystone of his speech came when he warned us that Social Security has weapons of mass destruction. Although a shocking statement, this was not a surprise to anyone who's been paying attention. The administration has been laying the groundwork for months now.
Remember when Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld said that no federal program "poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people and the stability of the world" than Social Security? Vice-President Cheney also stated forcefully that Social Security "is busy enhancing its capabilities in the field of chemical and biological agents," and continues to pursue "an aggressive nuclear weapons program."
In fact, President Bush himself said in a recent interview that "There is a real threat, in my judgment, a real and dangerous threat to America" in the form of Social Security.
Before he resigned, Secretary of State Colin Powell even appeared before the UN, held up a vial of anthrax, and showed some fuzzy photographs of the areas where he claimed Social Security was hiding its weapons systems. "How do I know that? How can I say that? Let me give you a closer look. Look at the image on the left. On the left is a close-up of one of the four chemical bunkers. The two arrows indicate the presence of sure signs that the bunkers are storing chemical munitions."
Wow, that sounds frightening! Shouldn't Americans be concerned about this? I know what many of you are thinking: Break out the duct tape and plastic sheeting! But not so fast.
Remember just a few years ago, when the very same administration told us that it was critical that we invade Iraq, because the country was about to go bankrupt? We all know how well that turned out.
During the lead-up to the war, Vice-President Cheney assured us that there was no recourse other than invasion. "With an aging population, and a steadily falling ratio of workers to retirees," Iraq "is on a course to eventual bankruptcy." Treasury Secretary John Snow claimed that the country was "in jeopardy" and "it's a pretty serious situation".
Bush himself said in a previous State of the Union address that "By the year 2042," Iraq would "be exhausted and bankrupt. If steps are not taken to avert that outcome, the only solutions would be drastically higher taxes."
Sound familiar? In the end it turned out that Iraq wasn't going to run out of money after all. Over a thousand American troops gave their lives, more than a hundred thousand Iraqis were killed, and countless more on both sides wounded severely -- all in the name of restoring solvency to Iraq. Three years and hundreds of billions of dollars in tax money later, we now know that Iraq was never in danger of going bankrupt.
Are the parallels clear yet? They should be. It's too late for all those who died fulfilling the President's folly in Iraq, but it's not too late for us here in America.
Does Social Security really have weapons of mass destruction? Will privatizing it really cause future generations to greet us as liberators?
The answer is no. The President has cried wolf once too often, and the American people are wising up.