Monday, May 02, 2005


Why don't the Republicans just come out and say that the private accounts will SUPPLEMENT the needed decreases in Social Security benefits that are coming anyway! This new talking point about "retirement security" is the lamest tactic yet. While their logis is true, the GOP is not leveling with the public any more than the Dems are, as they gleefully watch from the sidelines. When the President mentioned scaled means testing for the rate of growth of benefits (a fundamentally progressive idea), the Dems HOWLED that even Bill Gates should get his contribution to Social Security fully paid back, if such a thing is possible.

The Dems are standing on their heads on this issue, among others. They are blocking legislation that will help the constituencies they claim as their own, namely the lower and middle class workers, as well as minorities that, as a group, have shorter life expectancies than the national average. Their idea of "add on" private accounts hurts the poor even more than taking a portion (carving out) of Social Security taxes. If private accounts pass, they will cement Republicans as the party of the average person for as long as FDR has done for the Dems. Whether Pres. Bush's private accounts are a "carve out" or an "add on" is irrelevant, in historical terms. He has made the idea of ownership something that those of us with less means can aspire to.

Everyone is scared of the blunt truth: Social Security is a ponzi scheme with the taxpayer as both the recipient and the payer. By locking people over 55 years old into their current levels of benefit increases, the plan is paying off the last generation of scammees, while making better arrangements for people under 55. The reduced retirement benefit will be more than offset by the return on the private account, even if it's invested in Treasury Bonds. Think of it this way: Assume the returns on T-bills are the same as SS payments. Your SS benefits may be cut by 40 percent, but you've been putting 66 percent of your SS taxes into T-bills, which are your own property. This will give you over 120 percent of the income you would've had without the private investment option.

To separate private accounts from Social Security reform is wrongheaded madness. It's about time someone should say so, and bluntly.


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