Oct 23, 2012    #136
Contact: Sandra Beaty

Prof. Max Skidmore contributes to Harvard blog

Scholars offer facts and ideas without the yelling

Max J. Skidmore, Sr., UMKC Curators' Professor of Political Science and Thomas Jefferson Fellow, is a new addition to the Scholars Strategy Network, a blog produced by Harvard University. Skidmore was asked to participate because of his knowledge about current issues confronting citizens at all political levels.

One goal of the project is to share information in an accessible, readable manner. So, during any given month, about a dozen scholars analyze the topics - such as job creation, the environment, immigration reform, healthcare and education - and publish policy briefs.

All participants have agreed to work with citizens' groups to address the nation's pressing social and political questions. Found on the SSN website are factual articles presenting basic facts on timely topics, and options that might alleviate the problems at hand.

Two of Skidmore's pieces are available for reading and study: Should We Cut Social Security to Reduce the Deficit? was posted in September. Here Skidmore presents three cogent reasons for leaving Social Security alone. To begin, Skidmore says that payroll taxes go directly into the Social Security Trust Fund, not the general federal coffers. Next, he argues that the demise of Social Security is guesswork, and that we would be foolish to determine our fiscal course that way. Finally, he makes the case that American workers have a binding social and moral compact with their government.

"No matter what accountants and budget-cutters would like to do," says Skidmore, "the nation's moral obligation should be honored."

In October, 2012, Skidmore added Misinformation Campaigns in the Long War to Undermine Social Security to the blog. In this piece, Skidmore lays out the systematic, chronological attacks on Social Security. Almost from the start, employers, trade organizations and conservatives turned to scare tactics to frighten the working class. Suggested alternatives would have workers make their own investments, putting them at the mercy of a volatile market and institutions that have proven notoriously unreliable.

"Anyone who's paid attention has noticed stock market manipulations, the 401(k)s of Enron employees wiped out and Bernie Madoff taking the rest," says Skidmore. "Not exactly an attractive alternative."

So far, zealous misinformation campaigns have failed to shake public confidence in this system, Skidmore contends.

Scholars Strategy Network deals with the combative issues, but without the noise.


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