Thursday, February 17, 2005

Taking a good idea and making it bad

That seems to be all President Bush can do with Social Security. The idea of passing on wealth and having a personal retirement account got blown to hell with his Social Security phase-out plan and now the idea of raising the wage cap on payroll taxes is not going anywhere, either. In order to come up with money for his private accounts system, "Bush said Thursday that members of Congress should feel free to make any such proposals 'without political retribution.'" I don't know if anyone has explained to his how democracy works to him, but voters are to the ones who decide who get rebuffed for a bad political idea. The really sad thing about this is that raising the cap covers the shortfall to an extent that there is no more argument for him to claim Social Security is insolvent anymore. That's his whole rationale for this bad idea. We'd still have to borrow $4.5 trillion the first 20 years of his phase-out program to pay for private accounts. And his plan calls for benefit cuts to be proportional to the return of the private accounts, plus interest. You'd still lose money with this. To prove it, a number of online calculators have been set up. Sen. Charles Schumer's I found through Josh Marshall. Unless this is some Rovian-reverse-psychology thing, he should really learn to not talk. Everytime Bush says something, he either pisses off Democrats or confuses Republicans. Nothing good ever comes from him opening his mouth.


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