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January 31, 2005

Good Show!

Bayh really nailed the framing on Social Security privatization on This Week (the Stephanopoulos show).

[L]ook, the president is probably going to talk a lot about ownership and individual choice. I think those are great concepts, and I can support those -- but in addition to the current Social Security system, not as a replacement for it.

Look, you may own your home; a lot of Americans do. I bet you have insurance. Ownership and insurance have to go hand in hand.

Social Security is the insurance. Senior citizens in our country can always rely on it to make sure they're not desperately poor in their old age.

Should we have ownership and choice in addition to that? Yes, we should. But we should never do anything to undermine that insurance. That is one of the bedrock principles of our country.

Word. Don't fight ownership and insurance, just force George to make it a topping. If he wants to lay the groundwork for expanding the safety net after we shrink his deficit, I'm all for it. But base Social Security is untouchable. And if Bayh knows it, Republicans might as well pack up their toys and go home.

January 31, 2005 in Social Security | Permalink


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» Framing SS Debate from Polemic Propaganda
Evan Bayh's performance on This Week has been making the rounds, and from what I've read about his general performance, it was rather astounding. Here we were, thinking this wet-behind the ears kid from the Midwest would fold up and accede to the deman... [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 31, 2005 6:03:15 PM


Why does it seem people are forgetting about IRAs? Nice accounts, up to $2K a year, choice for everyone. Leave SS alone, and if people have been clamoring for choice, bring back the tax deduction for IRAs. That would encourage some saving for the future.

Posted by: Uncle Mike | Jan 31, 2005 12:02:30 PM

I like this analogy of insurance/ownership, as we can easily apply it to health insurance: you own your body but you should always have insurance (provided by the gov't) so you don't die poor in your old age. Wait, that wasn't as smooth as I was hoping. Okay, okay, you own your car, but you need insurance so you don't die poor in your old age. Wait, the government doesn't pay for car insurance! Crap. Hey...the government should be paying for my car insurance! Now that's a sweet deal.

Posted by: Kate | Jan 31, 2005 12:46:40 PM

BushCo is not forgetting about IRA's. Problem is that it is not enough for the well off. They need higher limits, so the accounts can basically become instruments of tax deferral rather than retirement savings. Watch BushCo concede the battle over Social Security in order to secure IRA's with higher contribution limits and other goodies. They lose the battle, but eventually win the war for a more regressive tax system.

Posted by: Mimir | Jan 31, 2005 12:47:21 PM

"so the accounts can basically become instruments of tax deferral rather than retirement savings"

Bingo, mimir.

I might be wrong, but I'm not sure that this wasn't the plan all along. Unless the Bush administration has totally bought its own hype (and this is possible), they must have known that privatization wasn't going to fly. So they'd cook up this absurd plan for gutting Social security by privatizing large chunks of it. And the Democrats, (a) knowing that they can stop this from happening, and (b) fearing that they'd look obstructionist otherwise, consent to a compromise that creates a tax shelter for rich folks.

Everyone goes home happy, except the Democrats who end up being called obstructionist spoilsports anyways.

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