Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Bush Underestimates the American Public on Social Security

From the Center for American Progress....."Conservatives Believe Americans are Fools on Social Security," February 1, 2005:

The House and Senate Republican Conferences have developed a 103-page communications manual for privatizing Social Security. The document reveals conservatives' true feelings about the wisdom of the American public. It pushes members to stress "personalization" over "privatization" since "privatization connotes the total corporate takeover of Social Security."

Remember, the audience "doesn't understand financial jargon," and "doesn't know how trillions and billions differ." And it reminds conservatives, "Don't let yourself get dismissed by a skeptical audience," because they "will dismiss the notion that the government can help them accumulate a million dollars," and they "don't find it credible that the accounts will be easy to manage."

Here's what Americans should really know:

The Bush administration's crisis mentality leads to critical mistakes. This Administration has a dangerous habit of overstating crises and understating the cost of radical steps. The "Chicken Little" mentality brought us an ill-conceived war in Iraq, designed to control WMD we never found, launched with no exit strategy and with inadequate troops and equipment. This is the team that expected our troops would be greeted by jubilant crowds, rather than armed insurgents. Let's make sure we think this one through. This time, when they launch their reckless plan and declare "mission accomplished," they could leave American retirees holding the bag.

There are many big, unanswered questions about Social Security privatization. First, what happens if you lose money? Are you just left out in the cold? Second, how will we pay the staggering $2 trillion transition costs? And third, what benefit cuts do they have in store? Who will be the winners under this privatization scheme? Who will run it?

Let's get it right for young and old alike. The Social Security trust fund will be solvent for almost 40 years. There is no need to rush in to ill-conceived privatization plans that haven't been well thought out. Let's get reform right and not undercut a guarantee with a gamble.

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