Thursday, February 03, 2005


Get this little tidbit:

Even more curiously, a "senior administration official" who briefed
reporters on the Social Security proposal earlier today disclosed details of the
White House plan that I don't think will play well in Peoria. Most
significantly, this official revealed that most or all of the earnings from new
"personal" or privatized accounts will be paid not to the holder of the account,
but to the government. The senior official called this a "benefit offset." It's
one way to finance the creation of these private accounts, but it's going to
cause quite a political stir, I think.

Well, yeah! I think so. What the hell is the point of private accounts if the money they earn goes to the government? They're finally admitting something many of us knew months ago (I believe I blogged about it, in fact): The administrative costs of private accounts will eat up all the accounts' gains, leaving the individual worse off then if he or she just put the money into a savings account.

But Bush's agenda isn't to save Social Security anyway. It's to give a big government boon to his buddies on Wall Street, where all the money earned on these private accounts is going to go, and eventually kill the program entirely. He simply hoped to convince the American people to adopt his plan on false pretenses just like he got us to go to war in Iraq by saying, "9/11! WMDs! 9/11! WMDs!" over and over, even though the regime was already planning to invade Iraq when Bush took office and knew that there were no WMDs in Iraq. But his cover has been blown this time, as noted here:

In a significant shift in his rationale for the accounts, Bush dropped his
claim that they would help solve Social Security's fiscal problems — a link he
sometimes made during last year's presidential campaign. Instead, he said the
individual accounts were desirable because they would be "a better deal,"
providing workers what he said would be a higher rate of return and "greater
security in retirement.

A Bush aide, briefing reporters on the condition of anonymity,
was more explicit, saying that the individual accounts would do nothing to solve
the system's long-term financial problems.

See? It's just the same. "We've gotta go get Saddam's WMDs" = "We've gotta save Social Security." Then, later, when it turns out that what Bush told us in the first place was bullshit, we hear, "The world is better off without Saddam", just as we would have heard, "It's a better deal!"

Bush runs the country as if he were a con man and the country is his mark. But he thinks we're all so stupid that he doesn't even have to vary his cons. It's just bait-and-switch with this guy, over and over.

He also thinks the American people are too dumb to figure out that "personal accounts [will] do nothing to solve the system's long-term financial problems" plus "most or all of the earnings from new 'personal' or privatized accounts will be paid not to the holder of the account, but to the government" does not equal "a better deal." In fact, it's no deal at all.

Bush is planning nothing more than enriching his friends in the process of destroying Social Security. I can only hope that Bush has misunderstimated the American people on this.

We'll see.


At 8:00 AM, Blogger R. Paul Wiegand said...

Mind you, I am in no way defedning the Bush Social Security plan, but I believe one of the facts in the article to which you link is incorrect. I read the post in the link, and I read the article in the Washington Post to which he refers. You quote Robert Kaiser's comment about the "benefit offset" from the Post's "Instant Analysis" article in your post, as well.

But today the Post printed an article that corrects their earlier mistakes, that statement among them. In it, "The Washington Post incorrectly reported Thursday that the balance of a worker's personal account would be reduced by the worker's total annual contributions plus 3 percent interest. In fact, the balance in the account would belong to the worker upon retirement, White House officials said."

Of course, the White House could have changed its tune (it wouldn't be the first time, and the plan is still in flux, of course). But just for the sake of accuracy, I thought I'd follow up with this.

It is a good article to read, anyway (in my opinion) because it is the most detailed one I've read so far about the current system (pro's and con's). Among the con's is a fairly dangerous "borrowing" element to the plan that I found particularly interesting. I'll let you read the details for yourself, especially since this chracterization is in disagreement and I am likely to be more biased than the Post is.

Anyway ... for what it's worth ...

[Again, I may have to shower ... ]

At 11:12 AM, Blogger mooglar said...

I believe you may have seen the edited version of that Washington Post article. Check out Talking Points Memo (, which has the article as it appeared prior to being reedited.

At 1:09 PM, Blogger R. Paul Wiegand said...

Apologies for my denseness, but your reply confuses me.

I did read the original TalkingPoint post, as well as the Washington Post article on which it was based. They are consistent with respect to the quote. A later Post article indicates that their earlier characterization of the plan was incorrect: According to the Bush plan, individuals would be paid all of their earnings from the private accounts upon retiring.

The mix-up on the part of the Post's initial comment has to do with confusion with respect to the way money is invested in the system, but not the ownership or ultimate recipient of the funds.

I am guessing I am misunderstanding your comment, though. Is this the case?

At 9:09 AM, Blogger mooglar said...

No, I just had a neuron misfire. I think that the "standard benefit + 3%" still comes out of your private account upon retirement, but I'm not quite sure. Depends on who you listen to. The story changes every day, as I'm sure you know.


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