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May 15, 2005

Why Oh Why Are We Ruled by These Idiots? (Bush Department)

Josh Micah Marshall outlines a few of the reasons that negotiating with *this* administration over the future of Social Security makes no substantive policy sense at all:

Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall: May 15, 2005 - May 21, 2005 Archives: There seems to be a rising chorus of claims that, even if the expected shortfalls in Social Security funding are still almost forty years in the future, every year that goes by the cost and difficulty of fixing the problem increases. But this makes no sense...e\ President Bush's proposed means of 'fixing' Social Security's shortfall turn entirely and exclusively on cuts in guaranteed benefits.... If the issue was prefunding Social Security as a social insurance program, then the sooner we start doing that the better. But President Bush has specifically ruled out new funds.... [I]t's even wors... Bush has also ruled out the existing funding mechanism by which any sort of pre-funding could take place....

Let's say we immediately cut everyone's Social Security benefits by 20%.... [T]he Trust Fund last longer... there's more money in it... it would pay down more slowly.... But [Bush] doesn't believe that the Trust Fund exists.... [I]t would be foolish for current beneficiaries of the program, or people currently paying payroll taxes, to fatten up the Trust Fund in this way so long as the current president isn't even willing to stipulate that the money will be paid back....

Given... [what] Bush will allow, it won't be any harder or more costly to 'fix' Social Security five or ten or any number of years into the future than it is today...

Posted by DeLong at May 15, 2005 07:08 PM