Damned Lies

In a totally unsurprising revelation, the L.A. Times reveals that Bush’s motives re: Social Security might not be totally altruistic:
Many Democrats accuse Republicans of intentionally making Social Security's future look bleaker than it is so that they can more easily sell their privatization proposals. The Republican agenda, they say, is more ideological than financial: the promotion of Bush's "ownership society."
The ownership society includes a proposal to privatize Social Security, with workers diverting cash to glorified 401(k) accounts instead of having automatic withdrawals from each paycheck going in to a national coffer. This would be voluntary, meaning that if it seemed more attractive to you to have an extra $50 in your take-home pay each payday, you could continue to avoid saving for retirement just as many do now, but with absolutely no safety net waiting for you in old age. I have two big problems with this half-cocked plan. First, I have yet to hear the Bush administration’s explanation for what happens to the money already contributed by people in the middle of their working lives. Lots of money directed to Social Security already, but no return on investment. Kind of sets us back a few years in the old private accounts, guys. Secondly, the entire proposal is predicated on misinformation and fear-mongering:
Three times in the past week, Bush has created or used public relations events to promote his view that Social Security is facing a dire financial threat and needs major repairs. Most recently, Bush said in his Saturday radio address that "the system is headed towards bankruptcy down the road. If we do not act soon, Social Security will not be there for our children and grandchildren."
But the truth is:
Critics of private accounts point out that the board that oversees Social Security estimates that the program will not run out of funds until 2042 — and even then, ongoing payroll taxes will be able to foot the bill for about 75% of full benefits.

That leaves plenty of time, they say, to assure Social Security's future with just a little nipping and tucking — slightly higher taxes, minimally smaller benefit increases, maybe a higher retirement age.
This is like selling your house because the porch light goes out. A sane person would, instead, change the light bulb. Democrats need to get busy on this issue, before our collective house gets sold by the asinine management team we put in charge of it.

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