Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Just like Diogenes in search of an honest Democrat

Writing in the Seattle Times, Ruben Navarette declares that the Democrats are not playing above the board: “Bad Faith on Social Security

I suppose I can't blame Democrats for fighting President Bush's plan to reform Social Security. I just wish that, for the sake of the economic welfare of future generations, they'd fight fair.

So far that hasn't happened. First, Democrats pooh-poohed the idea of a "crisis" and turned a blind eye to the demographic reality that having fewer workers per retiree means a crushing tax burden on those left in the work force. They distorted the impact of the president's plan to allow younger workers to invest in private accounts. Then they came up with the wild accusation that Republicans have a secret agenda to destroy not only Social Security but the legacy of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Meanwhile, Rich Lowry asks this question of the AARP:

Under current law, if no changes occur in Social Security's financing and the so-called "trust fund" runs out sometime around 2042 as projected, Social Security benefits will automatically be cut by more than a quarter. Shouldn't advocates of the status quo therefore be branded as effectively in favor of steep future benefit cuts?
Good question! If the Democrats hate President Bush’s proposal of private accounts coupled with benefit adjustments in the out years, what is their alternative? According to Joshua Marshall, they have lots of super ideas:

Chatterers notwithstanding, Democrats have a range of well-thought-out proposals for doing that, ranging from changes in fiscal policy, to adjustments in the program itself, to supplements to it.
Marshall didn’t link to any of these proposals so, like Diogenes, I went in search of an honest Democrat and a bona fide proposal to save Social Security. I sought answers on the Democrats home page, on Senate minority leader Harry Reid’s site, on House minority leader Nancy Pelosi’s web page, and even the site for the House Democrats, eager to preserve FDR’s New Deal. No luck.

But then I remembered that a chap from Massachusetts ran for the presidency a couple months back. Surely he would lead the way on this critical issue! Alas, FactCheck revealed the man’s duplicity:

A Kerry ad claims "Bush has a plan to cut Social Security benefits by 30 to 45 percent." That's false. Bush has proposed no such plan, and the proposal Kerry refers to would only slow down the growth of benefits, and only for future retirees. It was one of three possible "reform models" detailed by a bipartisan commission in 2001.

The ad also says nothing about what Kerry would do to address the troubled state of Social Security finances. Unless taxes are increased, the system's trustees say currently scheduled benefits would have to be cut 32%.
I’ve Googled high and low and Yahoo-ed far and wide and yet I cannot find any of these “well-thought-out proposals” actually, um, proposed by any Democrats. Joshua Marshall, can you help me out? That’d be great.

No comments: