Monday, May 02, 2005

Evasion and Issue-Skirting on Sunday Morning

I don't know who was more negative and evasive on the Sunday news interview programs about the President's plan to end Social Security by reverting it to a welfare plan...Republicans or Democrats.

Senator Sam Brownbeck (R-KS) on Face the Nation and Senator George Allen (R-VA) on Meet the Press were both unwittingly hilarious in skirting the issue of their support for the President's loony plan to end Social Security.

The 411 from the Center for American Progress....

President Bush's idea for "progressive indexation" of Social Security benefits is a surreptitious way of turning the popular universal retirement program into an unpopular welfare program for the poorest Americans.

By steadily cutting benefits for middle and upper income citizens while keeping benefits for the poorest stable (what the president calls an "increase" in benefits), Bush's cynical calculation is to recast Social Security as a boon to the poor in the hopes of drawing opponents into his privatization web. But cutting benefits for the middle class as a way to "help" those at the bottom will result in only one outcome: the end of Social Security as a program designed to provide a secure retirement for all Americans after a life of hard work.

Progressive indexation is nothing more than a huge benefit cut for the middle class. There's nothing progressive about socking middle-income workers with benefit cuts as they approach old age. Under the president's proposal, anyone making over $58,000 a year would see their benefits cut by as much as 42 percent.

Beyond the benefit cuts, the president wants middle-income workers to shift large amounts of their payroll taxes into private accounts. On top of the reduction in guaranteed benefits, Bush wants the middle class to shift payroll taxes into private accounts - a basic phase out of Social Security for the bulk of Americans.

Right-wing leaders envision only the poor receiving Social Security benefits and the rest of Americans fending for themselves. Right-wing leaders would like nothing more than to turn Social Security into another unpopular welfare program that they could kill off at the first opportunity. Their idea of progress is to turn FDR's promise of a secure retirement for all working Americans into another program for the poor that will be increasing vulnerable to right-wing budget cuts.

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