Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Bush discusses Social Security - again & again

From the New York Times Apr 18 (last night):

COLUMBIA, S.C. (Reuters) - President Bush said on Monday proposals to raise the retirement age for Social Security benefits and restructuring those benefits to be more generous to low-income workers are among possibilities for overhauling the country's largest entitlement program.

Today the New York Times Apr 19th provides another report.

COLUMBIA, S.C., April 18 - President Bush took his campaign to overhaul Social Security to the friendly territory of South Carolina on Monday, telling a joint session of the Legislature that he was open to a variety of ideas to fix the retirement program's long-term solvency problems.

Those ideas included, Mr. Bush said, raising the retirement age and progressive indexation, in which the pain of benefit cuts would fall more on people with higher incomes.

In addition, he said he appreciated an idea from an independent-minded Republican, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who has proposed raising the cap on the income subject to Social Security taxes.

The president was also complimentary about a proposal on the opposite end of the financial spectrum advanced by South Carolina's other Republican senator, Jim DeMint, who has insisted that Social Security's solvency problems could be solved by market forces if workers were allowed to invest a large part of their Social Security payroll taxes in their own investment accounts. Previously, Mr. Bush has said just the opposite, that investment accounts would not fix Social Security's solvency problems.

[Note that Bush is now contradicting himself.]

But Mr. Bush's embrace of the cacophony of ideas is part of a White House strategy to pivot from promoting a sense of crisis about Social Security, as Mr. Bush has sought to do in travels around the country over the past six weeks, to offering solutions.

"All these ideas are on the table, but they have one thing in common: they all require us to act now," Mr. Bush said in the 19th-century State House.

[Underlining is mine – RB]

He still doesn’t present a plan, he still uses “scare” language to try to stampede people into acting “Right Now!” like a door-to-door salesman, the article does not mention private accounts, and he still is less trustworthy than a door-to-door aluminum siding salesman.

Bush's entire period in the White House has been a set of efforts to get his way by misleading the American public. In the Social Security phase out discussion his continued use of inaccurate scare language, his demand that a decision be made "Right Now!", his history of gut-level unthinking opposition to Social Security and his unwillingness to present a plan of his own or consider a tax increase all demonstrate strong reasons to not act at this time.

He is like the used car salesman who tells you that the current deal is only available ritht now. That tells you he is running a scam, and the solution is to walk away and ignore him. Never take a deal that is offered "right-now-only" because you are being scammed.

This is still a political operation to phase out Social Security and is not a serious effort to deal with potential problems in the system. Go look at my previous blog for the source of the current effort by the conservatives to phase out the plan they have hated since it was inaugurated in 1935.

In short, nothing new. The political effort to phase out the Social Security System is still in the pure politics period.


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