Intriguing E-mail on Bloggers and Social Security

February 17, 2005

I just received an interesting e-mail from Keith at Conservativentexas blog who I think has an interesting suggestion. I want to share that e-mail and then make some comments on it. Keith wrote:


I know where you stand with SS and all but, I heard an incredible report on the WJ report this morning on my way to work. It said in a new poll by them and NBC that support for the President reform is down to 40%.

Now as far polls go I think most are rigged to read the way they want them too.

I am wondering if it is not time for bloggers to start a grass roots effort to get this reform through. I have maybe 18- 20 years left in the work force. I would like SS to be there for me and my wife. We have both contributed to this fund for all out working life. And yes we are and have made plans for our retirement with out SS. In fact both of us have believed it would not be there for us because by that time the TAX will be to high and people just will not work if the taxes are to high. SS was crewed up by the Camelot group in the 60’s when they said lets put the funds in the general fund. Of course you know as well I do, Democrats have never been able to stop them selves with spending other peoples money, especially when they have new money they never were suppose touch in the first place….

We are already are working 5 mos out the year to pay our taxes now.

By the way that report said American would support “modest” tax increases to fun SS?

Wonder where they took that poll? Down in Broward county in FL?

Any way any suggestions as to what or how to proceed from here?

My little blog just does not reach enough folks to really get a message out.

I will be posting something on it today though.



I find Keith’s idea interesting for a number of reasons.

1) Bloggers and their excellent media-watchdog work have grown increasingly important. Bloggers everywhere are examining their own role in the information and political worlds. Hugh Hewitt has an excellent book out on blogging, appropriately titled “Blog.” The debate rages in the blogosphere as to this relatively new medium.

But Bloggers are hardly operating in a closed-universe. They’ve now captured the attention and stirred the ire of the Main Stream Media, excuse me, The Old Media. Every day it seems we’re seeing news and opinion pieces on the virtues and vices of blogging. The Old Media is approaching panic mode, crying foul that people they have not anointed, are entering their turf. How dare they. Michelle Malkin has an interesting post on blogging today, in which she sites further writings of Hugh Hewitt on the subject, a very interesting piece by Sisu (whose comments, by the way, about Michelle Malkin I completely agree with), and a particularly insightful piece on blogging by Peggy Noonan. La Shawn Barber has contributed some valuable observations on blogging, including this post, in which she says:

I can’t tell you how cool it is to see journalists writing about the blogosphere, even the ones who don’t “get” it.

That is the point, actually. The Old Media is definitely bugged by bloggers, like they were and remain agitated about Rush and Drudge.

2) I could be wrong about this as it’s more of a subjective feeling I have rather than one based on data I’ve seen, but it seems to me that bloggers are getting more, or at least as much, notoriety as they are accolades. Bloggers are being associated with negative things. “They are foaming at the mouth attack dogs. They delight in bringing people down. Why don’t they offer something constructive instead of just going after people and institutions?” Of course it’s natural for the Old Media to react this way, given the bloggers vanquishment (is that a word?) of Dan Rather and Eason Jordan, to name a few big Old Media Dinosaurs. But to expose corruption, wrongdoing and impropriety is hardly negative in its effect. The bloggers performed an invaluable service on these matters, which is decidedly positive, even if in the process they made deservedly negative observations against the Dinosaurs and their institutional enablers. But the merits of this debate aside, why not consider Keith’s e-mail suggestion? Why doesn’t someone try to organize bloggers in a constructive effort to reform Social Security.

I realize one’s person’s idea of “constructive” is another’s idea of destructive. Most Democrats seem to consider any effort to reform Social Security as destructive, because it threatens one of their main power sources. But objective evidence indicates the system is in serious, serious trouble. And, the Old Media is acting in concert to keep the public misinformed about the issue. What if bloggers joined together to counter this misinformation/disinformation and launched an effort to get the truth out about Social Security? Granted I’m talking about mostly conservative bloggers here, but there’s enough of us.

It seems to me that bloggers, by definition, are a grassroots phenomenon. But they are like grassroots on stilts because their work is immediately published and potentially explosive in terms of its ability to reverberate to the corners of the earth instantly and efficiently. Some might argue that the very notion of a concerted blogging effort is counterintuitive, since one of the best attributes of bloggers is their independence. But they don’t have to sacrifice their independence to become part of an organized effort with whose goals they happen to agree.

But there is no better medium for an effort to set the record straight on a matter as complicated, fact-intensive and vulnerable to distortion as Social Security. There are all kinds of brilliant think-tank type bloggers out there who could provide the ammunition and clarification to fuel this drive. Indeed, one of the most frustrating things about the Social Security issue is everyone’s — from the White House down — failure to articulate the issues, especially the effects of privatization. This is not as complicated as it sounds, but someone needs to refine the message and answer, not sidestep, all the questions, warts and all. At least the warts in the remedy should be less problematic than those inherent in settling with the status quo.

I do not consider myself some kind of political activist and I don’t want this post to be construed as some presumptuous effort at launching a grassroots effort to set the record straight on Social Security and organize a drive to see it reformed. But I would like to stimulate some discussion on whether such an initiative is advisable on the Social Security issue or others.

One thing is clear. Bloggers, when working together, can get the attention — big time — of the Old Media and the rest of the Movers and Shakers of the world. Bloggers have proven they can get results. If some enterprising activist out there wants to organize an effort to tackle Social Security, I think it would be a good thing — not for the sake of the blog-ego, but for the sake of reforming this behemoth, problematic entitlement that everyone but the intellectually dishonest acknowledge is in dire need of fixing.