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March 31, 2005

John Snow Is Genuinely Embarrassing...

Jesse Taylor of Pandagon watches Treasury Secretary John Snow embarrass himself, and gets positively shrill:

Pandagon: An Internal Dialogue: John Snow can't figure out why America is opposed to the vague set of platitudes that he's paid to shill for.

Snow, in remarks to the Chamber of Commerce in Bozeman, said he believed personal accounts for young workers would be cost-free for the existing Social Security system and would not affect benefits to retirees or near-retirees.

'For the life of me, I can't imagine why anybody would argue against young workers having the ability to invest and build a better retirement for their future,' Snow said.

'Why wouldn't we do this? I have not heard one good reason not to and it's hard to figure out why anybody would oppose it,' he said.

Here are four off-the-top-of-my-head reasons to oppose the Bush private-accounts plan, all of them very good ones:

  1. As private-accounts plans go, it is a lousy one: the high three percent real clawback means that the working class and the lower middle class run an unacceptably large chance of losing money if they sign up.
  2. It is not cost-free for the existing Social Security system: it increases the Social Security deficit: contrary to what administration spokesmen claim, the shift to private accounts costs more in reduced revenues flowing to the standard Social Security system than it saves in reduced standard Social Security benefits.
  3. It doesn't do a thing to raise national saving; in fact, if people treat their private accounts as close substitutes for their other saving, it could well significantly reduce our already much-too-low national saving rate.
  4. The Bush administration has a demonstrated skill at getting the important details of policies wrong: at turning gold into straw. Even a good plan would be wrecked in implementation by this crew.

It is pathetic that John Snow has not heard any of these reasons. The Treasury Secretary should not be an ignorant, underbriefed doofus.

Posted by DeLong at March 31, 2005 01:06 PM