When my book, The Looting of Social Security: How The Government is Draining America’s Retirement Account, was published by a New York publisher in 2004, I thought my long battle to expose the truth about the Social Security trust fund was almost won. But that book met with foul play, and was removed from the market before many people had the opportunity to read it.
Early reviews revealed just how provocative the book was going to be. The Boston Globe reported, “… With dismal clarity, Smith lays out the step-by-step history of how a national pension plan was transformed into an outright shakedown of working people” and ALA Booklist said, “Smith has written a scathing account of massive fraud on the part of our nation’s leaders, who have plundered every cent of the Social Security Trust Fund surplus that was specifically earmarked for the retirement of the baby boomers.”
On February 26, 2004, I appeared on CNBC, to respond to Fed Chairman, Alan Greenspan, who had called for Social Security benefit cuts the previous day. I held my book in front of the camera and said, as forcefully as I could, “Alan Greenspan should be ashamed of himself for what he is not telling the American people.” I now believe that this public criticism of the Fed chairman may have been the final nail in the coffin of The Looting of Social Security, which was very critical of Greenspan’s role in making the looting of the trust fund possible.
A few weeks after my controversial appearance on CNBC, the book mysteriously disappeared from bookstores, nationwide, and was listed as “unavailable” by Amazon.com. I tried to get the rights to the book reverted back to me so I could publish my message elsewhere, but my publisher refused to surrender the rights. Thus the book was effectively killed off, and there was nothing I could do about it. I was unable to pinpoint exactly who was responsible for rendering the book “unavailable,” but a lot of people did not want the contents of the book to become public. Certainly, people in government, such as Alan Greenspan and Karl Rove, as well as many others in the Bush administration, would have wanted to prevent the book from becoming public knowledge, if they could find a way to do so.
Although the public knew nothing about it at the time, Greenspan’s February 25, 2004 call for Social Security benefit cuts was the opening salvo in an organized campaign to dismantle Social Security, as we now know it, once George W. Bush was safely elected to a second term. On August 27, 2004, Greenspan again spoke of cutting Social Security benefits during remarks at a symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
“As a nation, we owe it to our retirees to promise only the benefits that can be delivered,” Greenspan said. “If we have promised more than our economy has the power to deliver to retirees without unduly diminishing real income gains of workers, as I fear we may have, we must recalibrate our public programs so that pending retirees have time to adjust through other channels.”
Almost immediately upon his re-election, President George W. Bush made public his plan to partially privatize Social Security. On November 4, 2004, Bush said, “Let me put it this way: I earned capital, political capital, and now I intend to spend it. It is my style…I’ve earned capital in this election— and I’m going to spend it for what I told the people I’d spend it on, which is — you’ve heard the agenda: Social Security and tax reform, moving this economy forward, education, fighting and winning the war on terror.”
Like other Americans, there is no way I could have known about the standby plan to privatize Social Security, which was already formulated at the time I appeared on CNBC and publicly challenged Alan Greenspan on Social Security. Therefore, I didn’t realize just how big the potential impact of widespread readership of my book could be on the future plans of the Bush administration. From the administration’s point of view, I’m sure that they were not going to allow my book, or a book by any other author, to sabotage their plan to privatize Social Security. The book was a threat, and the threat had to be dealt with.
What is far more puzzling to me, than the opposition to my book in 2004, is the current effort to discredit me, and the book. I was almost flabbergasted when I learned, just a few weeks ago, that a website that goes by the name of “Medicare and Medicare Programs” launched a smear campaign on September 22, 2010 against me and the book that has been off the market since 2004. You don’t believe me? Click on the following link and it will take you to that website. I tried to find out who owns this website and who is behind this effort, but I was unable to do so. Who is sponsoring this website, and what is their agenda? These things don’t just happen by chance. The five negative reviews, alleged by the website to have been submitted on September 22, 2010, are exact duplicates of “customer reviews” from Amazon.com that were posted in 2004 and 2005.
If the intent of this internet campaign was to stomp out the message of my book, now and forever, their actions have backfired on them. It was in reaction to this campaign that I decided not to allow them to kick a dead book without bringing the book back to life. When I finally regained the rights to “The Looting of Social Security” in 2008, I vowed to re-publish the book, when the time was right, under an arrangement that would guarantee that the book remained in print for as long as anyone wanted to read it.
The smear campaign on the internet has convinced me that the time is now right for the book to be resurrected. Therefore, I am pleased to announce that the book has just been published by Ironwood Publications, under the title, The Looting of Social Security, New release of the book they didn’t want you to read. The new book includes all of the content of the original book, along with a new forward written by Dr. Victor Stoltzfus, President Emeritus, Goshen College, and an afterword written by me that brings the book up to date. The book was officially released yesterday, November 1, 2010.