Monday, May 02, 2005

Beware The Poll Results

At first, the latest Gallup poll results seem encouraging: 49 percent of Americans disapprove of George W. Bush's performance in office; 55 percent disapprove of his handling of the war in Iraq; 67 disapprove of his handling of gas prices; and 58 percent disapprove of the way he has handled the Social Security issue.
It's an encouraging sign that the American public has finally caught on to Bush's lies, deceptions and ineptitude.
But there's a dark cloud surrounding this silver lining: Bush's constant yammering away about Social Security has convinced a full 81 percent of the public that the program will need major changes in the coming years, and 62 percent that it would not be possible to ensure long-term benefits without either raising taxes or cutting benefits.
Bush and his minions appear to have accomplished their goal of undermining confidence in our greatest social safety-net program. They haven't persuaded many people that they have the right solution, but they've raised the fear factor, which is the way they typically work.
Progressives need to redouble their efforts to educate the public on the relatively minor adjustments that need to be made to preserve the program for a long time to come, most notably raising the ceiling (currently $90,000) on income that is taxed for benefits. The Social Security ceiling currently in place ensure that the rich pay a smaller proportion of their income to provide benefits than do the poor.
This is unfair, and it needs to change. The wealthy should be taxed on all of their income, not just the first $90,000.
And the public should be informed -- over and over and over again, just as Bush and his minions have done with their misinformation -- that the system can remain secure for generations to come.