Privatization and Civil Rights Acts?

Just over the AP Wire, Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) commenting on conservatives’ Social Security privatization scheme:

‘’This is like being for the Civil Rights Bill in 1960. You may not win but it makes you feel good and you’re on the right side.’’

It’s quite the stretch, but maybe there are some striking similarities between the push for privatization and the 1960 Civil Rights Act:

Neither hit the core of the issue: The 1960 Civil Rights Act “barely touched on anything new.” Private accounts do nothing for the long-term solvency of Social Security.


Passing on the problem to future generations: Though he celebrated the passage of the 1960 act, President Eisenhower “was accused of passing the thorny problem of voters’ constitutional rights over to his successor.” The trillions that will need to be borrowed to pay for private accounts will vastly increase the already bloated federal deficit, a problem to be dealt with by another administration.

No one is sold: Though happy that the federal government was recognizing that “a constitutional problem existed,” the act actually “did little to impress civil rights leaders.” Similarly, the American people are none too impressed by privatization schemes.

It’s nice to “feel good,” but how about less focus on how one feels — or self-congratulations — and more on providing viable solutions?