Thursday, January 20, 2005

George Cries Wolf. Again.

When is a crisis not a crisis? When Democrats say Social Security is healthy and successful, we are ignored, ridiculed, and called names like weak, short sighted, obstructionist or conspiracy theorists. It's only natural that we'd say stuff like this:
"It's a badly, badly flawed plan," Robert Rubin, the former secretary of the treasury and current Citigroup director, told me. "From a fiscal point of view it's horrendous. It adds to deficits and federal debt in very large numbers until 2060." He calculates that the transition costs of Bush's plan for the first 10 years will be at least $2 trillion, and $4.5 trillion for the second 10 years. The exploding deficit would have an "adverse effect on interest rates, an adverse effect on consumption and housing prices, reduce productivity and growth, and crowd out debt capital to the private sector. Markets could begin to lose confidence in fiscal policy. The soundness of social security will be worse".

Rubin adds that the stock market is hardly a sure bet. "You are not making social security more secure by subjecting people's retirement to equity risk. If you look at the Nikkei in Japan you get a sense of what can happen."
Ya, ya, another "expert" tells how Bush's plan is a scam. But he's a Democrat so he doesn't count. So what do some other guys have to say about the President's privitization plan :

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Calif.) predicted yesterday that partisan warfare over Social Security will quickly render President Bush's plan "a dead horse" and called on Congress to undertake a broader review of the problems of an aging nation.

Thomas, one of Capitol Hill's most powerful figures on tax policy, is the highest-ranking House Republican official to cast doubt on the president's plan for creating individual investment accounts. He said that as an alternative, he will consider changes such as replacing the payroll tax as Social Security's financing mechanism and adding a savings plan for long-term or chronic care as "an augmentation to Social Security payments."
George's plan called a "dead horse" by a Republican? I'm sure he was misquoted. He probably meant Bush's plan should be view as "stead for the course" or something like that. Wait. What's this a couple parargraphs later:
Rep. Phil English, Thomas "played a very important role in reminding those involved in the debate that there are number of things we can do that will improve the solvency from Social Security, quite apart from the creation of individual accounts," English said. "And he also correctly and directly made it clear that individual accounts by themselves will only marginally improve the performance of the system overall."
What's that? Another Republican claiming that Bush's plan might not actually solve the "crisis" Bush has made up to sell his plan? Say it isn't so my elephantile friends. Say it ain't so! Bush wouldn't sell us a terrible plan that didn't do what it was suppose to. Why, just look at his other wonderful plans, like his tax cuts or prescription drug bill. Those were great! Ya, well about that:
The tax cuts and the prescription drug bill were the President’s two principal domestic priorities during his first term. Together, these policies will cost at least five times as much over the next 75 years as the Social Security shortfall (if the tax cuts are made permanent). In other words, the President’s domestic policy initiatives will have resulted in fiscal problems much larger than the problem that he now says he wants to address.
Say it ain't so, George. The highlights of your first term are actually responsible for a crisis five times that of the fake crisis you are selling us right now! Why I just can't believe it. Apparently, most Americans can't believe it either. From ABC news:
CRISIS? – As noted, the administration also faces a challenge in simply getting the public to share its sense of urgency about Social Security. Bush declared last week, “The crisis is now.” In this poll, however, just 25 percent say Social Security is in crisis, actually down from 34 percent in an ABC/Post poll in 1998.
George, remember WMD's? You've cried wolf once too many times. We're not buying it anymore.