A Grimm Fairy Tale
by Nancy Sherer

‘The Old Beggar Woman' by the Brother's Grimm begins like this:

"There was once an old woman, but surely thou hast seen an old woman go a-begging before now?"

For modern Americans, the answer to that question would be ‘no.' Since the Democratic Party established our current social security system old women and men have been spared from begging door to door.

However, the Republican Party, always nostalgic for olden times, wants to destroy Social Security. Yes, as usual, they disguise their policies in distortions and outright lies.

Lies? Yes, Red States, the Neo-cons lie. Will Social Security go bankrupt in 40 years? No, that is a lie. Under the Clinton Administration, Social Security was secured for the next 40 years. Even if nothing about the system was changed, in 40 years retirees would still receive a large portion of their benefits. That gives us 40 years to make small adjustments to secure Social Security beyond that.

The Republicans claim that we should be an ‘ownership society' but does that mean that their privatization plans would give retirees freedom to make decisions about when and how to spend their private accounts? No. Money put into George Bush's private accounts would have fees taken out for investment brokers then money left over would be doled out in small monthly payments, just as Social Security does now.

What happens if you die with huge amounts of money left in your account? Under Bush's plan, it would NOT go to your heirs. Although the sneaky words of the Bush plan make it seem like an individual gets to make his or her own decisions, you would have no power to make decisions about how much and when (or if) you receive your annuity.

As the Republican prescription drug plan proved, George Bush cares more about corporate campaign contributors and cronies than he does about the health and well-being of senior citizens.

And what becomes of the old beggar woman in Grimm's fairy tale? She dies when her ragged clothes catch fire because a young man can't even shed tears to put out the flame.