Slices from President Bush, Explaining his plan to save Social Security, Tampa, Fla., Feb. 4, 2005:
“Because the -- all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculate, for example, is on the table; whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases. There's a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those -- changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be -- or closer delivered to what has been promised.
“Does that make any sense to you? It's kind of muddled. Look, there's a series of things that cause the -- like, for example, benefits are calculated based upon the increase of wages, as opposed to the increase of prices. Some have suggested that we calculate -- the benefits will rise based upon inflation, as opposed to wage increases. There is a reform that would help solve the red if that were put into effect. In other words, how fast benefits grow, how fast the promised benefits grow, if those -- if that growth is affected, it will help on the red.”
[one thing we do know for sure, the money managers stand to be the big winners in any privitization plan]
Q Well, I think you'll like this. It's a simple suggestion. Regarding, the flexible spending account, my suggestion is to encourage Congress to quickly get rid of the "use it or lose it" law, which will also supplement the help with Social Security. And then, my question is, for the three or four options that will be available, will those options be federally-run options? Or will they be from like commercial providers, say, like Fidelity Investments?
THE PRESIDENT: No, no, that's a great question. They'll be from providers. We don't want the federal government making stocks and bond decisions. (Applause.) They'll be private -- private sector, people who get paid to do this. And the fees, by the way, will be -- we'll make sure that you don't get gouged. I mean, obviously, what we want is people's money going into their personal account, not going into big fee structures. And so there will be a -- it will be regulated to that extent. In other words, there will a certain sense of regulation, you can only invest in certain kinds of stocks and bonds to be -- and the funds will be managed by people whose job it is to manage them, outside of the government.