Yes, cartoons can be intellectually dishonest...
Luckovich, the Atlanta-Journal-Constitution's left-statist op-ed cartoonist, plays Let's Scare The Old People on Social Security: the drawing is of an old man sitting inbetween two even older -- and decrepit looking, to put it lightly -- people, a man & woman, with the man in the middle holding a piece of paper that says "social security privatization"; he's saying "my social security investments didn't work out like I'd hoped...so thanks for letting me move back in, Mom&Dad"...
Let the absurdity of that sink in for a moment.
The implications in the pic go far beyond the standard nonsense, however, though I doubt he even realizes it himself. To start off with, he exaggerates the currently discussed plan to (what he sees as) an extreme: what is actually being bounced around is a plan to allow (read: not require) a small percentage (read: not all of it) of a persons SS funding from their payroll taxes to be placed into a private account to do with it whatever they want (read: they can just stick it in the bank if they so choose). Of course, this being too much information to provide in an editorial cartoon, along with his intent being to spread fear, instead it's portrayed as if it's total privatization & the program will be shut down. At the moment, the average voter is too underinformed to respond to either scenario -- what's really happening or the whole-hog privatization Luckovich claims is coming -- with anything other than reactionary fear, with visions of starving elderly folks dancing in their heads.
Clearly to "get" it one would have to accept his entire political philosophy with no acceptions. What is that philosophy? Simple:
-most people cannot be trusted with their own interests, and must be guided from above, necessitating a Parent-Child relationship between civilians and a class of self-anointed "intellectuals".
-the Federal Government is to be entrusted this task, making popular representation into a liscense of explicit control.
-to dare question the above is to wish harm on the human race, and by extension anyone opposing the proposed buerecratic oligarchy's solution to any issue is clamoring for that issue to get much worse on purpose; for example, if you oppose federal involvement with education then you inevitably must oppose education at all.
Applied to the issue of Social Security reform, entrusting a rather miniscule amount of someone's payroll tax to their own judgement -- again, they would not be required to invest it -- would lead to massive waves of people sinking every penny of their retirement money into bad investments, impoverishing virtually everybody. Count off the assumptions within this view:
1) if allowed a percentage of their taxes back, people will without fail put it in the stock market
2) virtually everyone invests terribly
3) no one can, or does, save money for their retirement themselves, so they depend entirely on social security benefits
4) the average return in the stock market is sharply negative no matter what
5) the average return in social security benefits is, without fail, enough to live comfortably on alone
These can be picked off within seconds as being wrong by anyone even remotely familiar with the stock market, or social security, or even the most basic human behavior. If this is what will pass for reasonable discussion from here on out, passage of reform ought to be so easy as to make the conflict resemble an Atlanta Hawks game in its lopsidedness.