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March 05, 2005


Jim Glass

"If we did nothing with Social Security," said Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader... "Social Security would pay 100 percent of benefits for the next 50 years."

Of course, that's defining imposing an income tax increase of 35% from today's levels by 2030 just to cover the operation of the trust funds as "doing nothing".

If the Democrats identify themselves solidly enough with this claim when that "nothing" arrives they're likely to wind up like the Whigs.

creepy dude

Bush yesterday in New Jersey (White House transcript):

MS. ENGLER: Well, the truth of the matter is, I need my parents on a regular basis to help me, because I have five children --

THE PRESIDENT: Five kids, that's good, yes.

MS. ENGLER: -- and I really can't do it all on my own. So anyway, yes, I'm Lisa Engler. I'm here with my husband, Will. We have five children.

THE PRESIDENT: Right. John is your dad.

MS. ENGLER: My dad. And Social Security, of course, for me is an issue, because not only did I work in the work force for 10 years and saw a big chunk of my money go into Social Security, and all the senior managers telling me, you know, it may not be here for you; invest in 401(k) -- but now, looking at the numbers and everything, it's very frightening as a parent. I have a three-month-old who, at the age of 65, this system will be bankrupt for almost 30 years. It's frightening.

THE PRESIDENT: In 2042, it goes broke, for good. It not only goes in the red, but whatever paper is available in the form of IOUs is gone. I mean, it's just -- it's a fact.

MS. ENGLER: And there's no getting around it. I mean, we all know it. We all heard --

THE PRESIDENT: No, not everybody knows it yet. They're going to know it.


THE PRESIDENT: You know it. (Applause.) It's all right."


The article is only about the horse race aspects of SS plan, ignoring the total stupidity of the "private accounts" thing.

Private accounts have nothing to do with saving Social Security. The real reason behind them are explained at my blog.

Robert Crawford

That's right, Abigail. Letting people own their own retirement funds is just a plan to brainwash them. It has nothing to do with letting people actually build wealth instead of shaving off a percentage to government employees and handing it out the door to the latest retirees. It has nothing to do with trying to address the inversion of the demographics that Social Security relies on.

The idea of letting people pass on their retirement savings to their children? Yep -- just another aspect of the brainwashing.

It's all about brainwashing. You figured it out.

Old Grouch

I just wish they'd make their minds up:

"Mr. Bush appeared to relish confronting his opponents head-on, as he has in past political fights." -- Times, quoted above


"To answer questions from informed people who might doubt him is not an essential responsibility that Bush, as President, feels he even has." -- Jay Rosen, paraphrasing WaPo's Howard Kurtz (or possibly Dan Froomkin? Link isn't clear.)

Maybe it's just that Bush prefers real citizens to "gotcha" journalists?


I have a question for abigail and folks who believe as she does. If SS is such a great deal:
1) why aren't federal employees in it? (you do know that around 25% of wage-earning workers in the US are not in SS, right?);
2) if private accounts are such a crappy deal, why not let those who want to take the crappy deal AND NOT get SS (except for a reduced benefit based on payments already made) go? What are you afraid of?;
3) If SS is such a great deal, why are people like you forcing people like my kids to stay in it and pay? What's in it for you?

Well, actually, I figure I know the answers. Abigail is another one of those lefties who don't believe anyone else is smart enough to run their own life.


Incredibly, back in December I tackled head-on the same question Matt Yglesias has so recently discovered.

Well, it was a Giants-style tackle - I sort of let the question slide away. But after going through a listof pro-privatization arguments, I wrote this:

nd I have thought that the secret Rep reason for privatization was that we want to use Social Security to convert everyone into capitalists. This will induce them to vote for Big Business (or business, anyway), not Big Government. Seriously, shareholders might have a different view on taxes, business regulation, environmental regulation, and so on - is this not a hidden agenda item for the Right?

OTOH, after the last election, where Dems whined that Red Staters didn't vote their pocketbooks, I wonder if anyone still takes the notion of a Nation of Capitalists seriously.

Even I can not tell you where I came out on that (but if this blogging thing does not work out, my future in the fortune cookie business is assured.)


Hmmm, who to bet on... a fired up president stumping his issue, or a bunch of whiny limp-wristed, knock-kneed bedwetters arguing for another study...? Hmmm, who's going to win this one... Americans really don't like big changes they don't quite understand... but they never did like pussies. Check that. We really don't like pussies. Bush wins, you watch.

Mark marshall

/misinformation - Who says Feds aren't in SS? The CSRS was abolished in lieu of FERS which is invested in SS as part of the "package". If a Fed retires before SS eligibilty age he/she receives an offset against the missing amount until SS kicks in (providing they don't continue in some other employment). Again, pension annuity plus offset, then pension annuity plus SS is the Federal retirement plan. With no SS, the pension is not a lifestyle maintenance annuity for most lifetime employees. Knowing this (and reading the tea leaves), smart Feds are throwing THE MAX into the TSP (gasp - managed stock/bond/currency funds), because that is where the cat food turns back into Star-Kist tuna again. Ummm - kinda what the Prez is telling the private sector. Want a historical 10% on your money and the ability to actually keep it? Hell yes this worker says. BTW - Abigail, went to your blog, believe you are sincere, but since you're a babe you have some obnoxious trolls - so comments are boring and embarrassing to the Right.


When Dusty Harry said "If we did nothing with Social Security," it "would pay 100 percent of benefits for the next 50 years", maybe he means by not paying anyone it would pay 100 percent...The President is taking his arguements to the people,face to face. The other guys are taking theirs... to the papers? Who to believe, hmm...

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