In trying to create momentum for his venal Social Security Privitization gambit Bush has warned that the system will face a crisis in forty years if action is not taken to “save it” now. Geologists and other experts, who are far more credible than Mr. Bush, warn that global oil production will peak in forty years if not much sooner – perhaps in fewer than five years.
Previous “artificial” oil shortages, that were caused by turmoil in the Middle East rather than an actual decrease in the amount of oil available, had immediate disasterous consequences for the American economy. Setting aside all of the other reasons why Bush’s plan is a horrendous idea, it would also tie Americans’ retirement to the fortune of the stock market at a time when the life blood of the global economy, oil, will face a permanent crisis of scarcity. Given the Bush Administration’s hostility to green energy and incorporating the principles of sustainability into the American economy, “the great economic collapse,” as Roger Waters once put it, could be rapid and harsh unless wiser leaders chart America on a dramtically different energy course in the near future.
Assuming there is a spectacular economic decline shortly after oil peaks it would certainly be advantageous to have reliable social security money available to the elderly to guarantee that they have at least enough income to subsist. Such a gurantee would probably even make the economic decline a bit less harsh.
This was but one of the many lessons of the Great Depression that our society can forget at its peril.