She’s getting worse

SHE’S GETTING WORSE…. Sharron Angle (R), the extremist Senate candidate in Nevada, is on record wanting to scrap the entire Social Security system. She’s spoken public about her desire to see the system “fazed out,” and replaced with “something privatized.” Angle recently added, “I’m saying it can’t be fixed. It’s broken.”

On Thursday, Angle defended her privatization scheme, arguing that if a South American military dictatorship can do it, so can the United States.

Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Sharron Angle says the nation’s Social Security system needs to be privatized, and she says it was done before in Chile.

Angle referred to the South American country on Thursday in North Las Vegas while explaining previous statements that the United States should phase out its current system.

Specifically, Angle told the CBS affiliate in Las Vegas, “So when I said private, that’s what I meant — that I thought we would have to go just to the private sector just for a template on how this is supposed to be done. However, I’ve seen been studying, and Chile has done this.”

Oh, well, if Angle’s been “studying,” then I’m sure it’s a good idea.

Except it’s not. In 1981, Chilean military dictator Augusto Pinochet privatized the nation’s pensions system. The experiment failed rather spectacularly, and in 2008, the country started moving back towards more government oversight and control.

If this seems vaguely familiar, it’s because we’ve already had this debate. In 2005, the Bush White House and assorted privatization activists talked up Chile’s radical experiment, but the talking point fizzled when policy experts highlighted just how awful Chile’s experiment was. I’m surprised Angle didn’t notice any of this while “studying.”

It’s almost as if Sharron Angle is some sort of crazy person, spouting nonsense about a pillar of American society, which she seems to know nothing about. That couldn’t be, could it?

And just as an aside, there’s something I’ve never understood about the right’s standards for international comparisons. If the left suggests the U.S. pursue a public policy that’s worked in, say, Germany, conservatives respond, “They’re trying to turn us into Europe!” But when Angle praises Pincohet’s privatization scheme and suggests we emulate here, no one seems inclined to argue, “Republicans are trying to turn us into a South American military dictatorship!”