Newt Gingrich, Republican candidate for president and human Macy's Thanksgiving Parade balloon, today revealed his plan to reform Social Security: end it. Oh, okay, actually, Newt's plan allows taxpayers to opt for private retirement accounts, which would put trillions of dollars in retirement savings into the hands of Wall Street investment funds, a plan that could in no way blow up in our faces or anything, because of how those Wall Street investment funds employ only really, really nice guys who would never cheat us. Sure, those same guys did more or less shatter the world economy a few years ago, but this time they promise they won't do that again, and Newt's proposal includes strict regulation of those funds. And we know how much Republicans like to regulate things that are not women's bodies or sex acts between consenting adults. So perhaps Newt's plan reflects not so much a desire to end Social Security but the world economy.
(I am stockpiling Ruffles Sour Cream and Cheddar Potato Chips, which I believe will be the medium of exchange in the post-global economy. Plot of future tragedy: rich guy smokes a joint, eats his entire fortune in one sitting. Drugs make you poor, kids. Stay in school.)
The last time anyone proposed this exquisitely stupid plan was George W. Bush in 2005, when it was roundly defeated -- and that was before the stock market started making that old-man noise that your Uncle Marty used make first thing in the morning. Newt Gingrich: the candidate of ideas. Really old, really bad ideas. Bitten by a radioactive bad idea back in the '90s, Newt is now, unbeknownst to all of us, Bad Idea Man! (I just had a brief flash of Newt in a lycra bodysuit, so now I would like to go stab an icepick into my brain until that image goes away.) Only in a field of Keystone Kandidates like the current Republican party hopefuls could this guy be the front-runner.
Maybe we need to do something about Social Security and maybe we don't; honest men and women differ on this issue, as do our current leaders. As such, I would like for the first time in any forum to propose here what I call the Elliot Plan to Save Social Security Whether or Not It Needs Saving. (We can work on shortening the name later.) My plan is simple, straightforward and effective, and will take effect at the age of 65 for every man, woman and child who has paid into the Social Security trust fund. (Yes, there will be 65-year-old children under my plan; if your kids moved back into the house after college, you know exactly what I mean and also: I'm sorry, man.) At 65, your Social Security account will be liquidated and you will be issued a certificate redeemable for the largest-size Amway product kit, pushed out into the street and encouraged to Sell! Sell! Sell! If you can recruit other retirees (each of whom will pay you some proportion of sales), you, my friend, will be on your way to lifelong financial security. Plus, apparently that stuff's really good on household stains, so you can keep that abandoned shoe factory you're squatting in with 24 other retirees clean and spiffy.
So, my fellow post-50 Americans: do you want to trust your retirement to a guy who thinks that children should work as janitors? (Silly Newt: children should work as miners because A) they're small and can fit into twisty little passages in a mine and 2) they're already minors.) (Sorry. Really.) Or shall we do the smart thing and commit our future to a well-respected business model that has only on occasion been called a "pyramid scheme" and settled class-action suits brought against it for millions of dollars?
No, I'm not talking about the stock market, but sure, I can see how you might think that; I mean, Newt Gingrich does, and he's the brains of the Republican field.