Sunday, December 19, 2004

Good News on Social Security

That's just what the advocates of 'Social Security reform' with private accounts are up to. They want to phase out the program; but they're just too cowardly to say it. They lack the confidence of their ideological ambitions.

-- Josh Marshall

The Times is reporting that almost 'everyone' (I love when they do that) expects Bush to have a difficult time dismantling Social Security without bipartisan support. And they report that Democrats in Washington are on the case:

Democratic leaders dispute the Republicans' central assertions: that the problems facing Social Security constitute a crisis, and that diverting payroll taxes to private investment accounts is the way to solve it. Social Security trustees have estimated that without changes, the system will start running short of money to pay full benefits in 38 years.

"If we allow them to frame it that way - that there is a crisis, therefore we must go to private accounts - if we allow them to frame it that way, the fact is, we've perpetrated a huge fraud," said Senator Byron L. Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota and chairman of the Democratic Policy Committee.

As for bipartisan support:

There is no question that the Republicans need some Democratic help, if only to make it through the Senate, where they are still short of the 60 votes necessary to break any filibuster. Moreover, even in the House, where the rules allow broad power to a majority, many Republicans do not relish the idea of having to produce all the votes for Social Security themselves.

While there is strong support among Republicans for private accounts, the details, like whether to pay for them by government borrowing, can be very divisive. Moreover, Republicans do not have the political cover of the AARP, the huge retirees' lobby, as they did when they tackled Medicare restructuring.


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