On Social Security Privatization

Last year President Bush proposed a Social Security privatization plan–workers could divert some of their payroll taxes into private savings accounts–as a way of heading off a financial crisis in the Social Security program at some point in the future. In Bush’s view, making workers more responsible for their retirement needs would reduce the burden on the government for Social Security beneift payouts down the road.

Only Bush’s proposal went nowhere, despite a coast-to-coast barnstorming campaign to sell the public on the plan. Indeed, in his State of the Union address a few short weeks ago, Bush said, “Congress did not act last year on my proposal to save Social Security,” a statement that provoked a standing ovation on the part of Congressional Democrats. By mid-summer last year the plan, which had never gone before Congress, had faded from the political chatter.

Curiously, though, Bush’s privatization plan has turned up again, in his 2007 budget proposal that he just submitted to Congress. His budget, then, assumes that a program that Congress hasn’t even considered, hasn’t even had hard numbers until now, will be the law of the land.

We’ve always known that Bush’s connection with reality is tenuous at best. This is simply more proof.

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