Slice one, from Rolling Stone:
To hear George Bush tell it, Social Security is about to go broke. Since his re-election, the president has launched a full-scale campaign to convince the public that the retirement system will run out of money starting in 2018. "The system goes into the red," Bush told reporters on December 20th at a rare press conference. "Many times, legislative bodies will not react unless the crisis is apparent, crisis is upon them. I believe that crisis is." Social Security, he concluded, "can't sustain that which has been promised to the workers."
To save Social Security, Bush wants to destroy it -- replacing government-guaranteed retirement benefits with private accounts that will be subject to the whims of the stock market. It's an expensive plan. Allowing workers to divert even a small portion of their payroll taxes into private investments, as Bush is proposing, would require the government to borrow at least $2 trillion to make up the immediate shortfall. It's also completely unnecessary, according to Paul Krugman, a prize-winning professor of economics at Princeton University. In a blistering series of columns in the New York Times, Krugman has marshaled the economic data to show that Social Security is not only solvent, it's in much better financial shape than the rest of the federal government. "The people who hustled America into a tax cut to eliminate an imaginary budget surplus and a war to eliminate imaginary weapons," Krugman wrote recently, "are now trying another bum's rush."
At his tree-shaded home in Princeton, New Jersey, Krugman took a break from working on a new economics textbook to explain why the crisis is phony -- and what's wrong with Bush's plan "to convert Social Security into a giant 401(k)."Slice Two from another Blogger:
President Bush plans to reactivate his reelection campaign's network of donors and activists to build pressure on lawmakers to allow workers to invest part of their Social Security taxes in the stock market . . . The campaign will use Bush's campaign-honed techniques of mass repetition, never deviating from the script and using the politics of fear to build support — contending that a Social Security financial crisis is imminent when even Republican figures show it is decades away.
Any way you cook the books. Social Security isn't really broken, but there needs to be some kind of tweaking besides trashing it to benefit the white wealthy folks Bushit wants to help so desperately.