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Administration E-Mail Urges Cuts in Social Security Benefits

Where's my lockbox? The Bush Administration once again proves itself to be disingenuous at best, and a liar at worst. Remember Bush saying there were no plans to cut social security benefits for retirees? Now an e-mail from Karl Rove Deputy Peter Wenner surfaces.

In the e-mail, Wehner, director of White House Strategic Initiatives, urged cuts in future promised benefits as the best approach to overhaul the system to private investment accounts. Failure to make the cuts would cause "short-term economic consequences," he wrote. The e-mail outlines some of the difficult financial trade-offs required to carve out accounts from the system - details the administration has so far refused to discuss publicly.

"We need to establish in the public mind a key fiscal fact: right now we are on an unsustainable course," Wehner's e-mail said. "That reality needs to be seared into the public consciousness; it is the precondition to authentic reform."

For much more on this topic, visit Atrios, Kevin Drum, Josh Marshall, Maxspeak and Brad DeLong, who reprints the entire memo here.

As one of the commenters on TalkLeft wrote,

This is the AARP congressional contact line for "Social Insecurity," as they aptly put it. It's the war of wealth against work. Take some action - say NO to this destruction of Social Security: 1-800-307-8525

You can get through to your own representatives on that line and give them a piece of your mind.

We pay for THEIR retirements; they'd better preserve our safety net.

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  • Re: Administration E-Mail Urges Cuts in Social Sec (none / 0) (#1)
    by Kitt on Thu Jan 06, 2005 at 10:22:04 AM EST
    Yes...and specifically, I remember his parents 'touring' thruout Florida, saying "trust me" he's not going to do it - his mother of 'my beautiful mind' fame. There's a story on NPR; I'll have to track it down, but his mother definitely says 'W won't cut senior citizen's benefits'.

    Re: Administration E-Mail Urges Cuts in Social Sec (none / 0) (#2)
    by pigwiggle on Thu Jan 06, 2005 at 10:33:19 AM EST
    They make a good argument for reducing the increase in benefits to track inflation rather than the wage index. The difference is, should retirees enjoy benefits that offer them the same standard as offered beneficiaries today, or should they be dragged up with the overall gain in affluence.

    Re: Administration E-Mail Urges Cuts in Social Sec (none / 0) (#3)
    by desertswine on Thu Jan 06, 2005 at 10:53:17 AM EST
    "And there's one thing I hope we will all be able to agree on. It's about our commitments. I'm talking about Social Security. To every American out there on Social Security, to every American supporting that system today, and to everyone counting on it when they retire, we made a promise to you, and we are going to keep it."
    - January 31, 1990 George H.W. Bush

    et al - You missed one small detail from th email: "A White House e-mail argues the case for cutting Social Security benefits promised in the future and says....Bush's 2001 Social Security commission, in a plan serving as a blueprint for the overhaul, proposed changing the formula used to calculate benefits, resulting in cuts in promised benefits of 0.9 percent to nearly 46 percent. The investment accounts, which would be similar to 401(k)s, are expected to make up the income loss....on a proposal that would let workers divert two-thirds of their payroll taxes into investment accounts, up to an annual limit of $1,000 to $1,300." So. Current retirees not impacted. Future retires can invest. Future retiree benefits reduced, with the private investment taking up the slack, and hopefully, more. Surely you didn't think that you would pay less in payroll taxes and still get the same amount back. Holy investments, Batman. That would be the deal of the century.

    Re: Administration E-Mail Urges Cuts in Social Sec (none / 0) (#5)
    by kdog on Thu Jan 06, 2005 at 12:23:24 PM EST
    Unless those private investments lose money. Then that "hopefully, more" becomes an "unfortunately, less". Which is fine if you don't mind a ton of seniors with not enough to live on. Personally, I think I'll be dead by 65, so this isn't a big issue to me. I pay no attention to that strange column marked "gross pay" on my check, I take the net and don't expect to get anything back. That way, I don't feel extorted or cheated, and I won't be disappointed if I do make 65 and Uncle Sam says "sorry".

    Re: Administration E-Mail Urges Cuts in Social Sec (none / 0) (#6)
    by Che's Lounge on Thu Jan 06, 2005 at 12:26:04 PM EST
    A deliberate leak to scare people even more. Now it's icebergs.

    Re: Administration E-Mail Urges Cuts in Social Sec (none / 0) (#7)
    by kdog on Thu Jan 06, 2005 at 12:27:07 PM EST
    But if I was 62 yrs. old or so, I think I'd be a little worried right now.

    I realize this is not the cuts on the table, but what would be wrong with Social Security Insurance being for those who failed to create enough wealth in their retirement years? Payments limited by Gross Retirement Income. This is the wrong administration for such a thing, but it seems the most fair a solution if cuts are required.

    yeah, um - my grandmother had over $250,000 in her retirement fund when she retired from a very large well known company after 30 years of service. she was 66 years old. that was in 1998. btw, she also gets soc sec (i think it's $400 or $500 per month). now she has around $30,000 left, and not from living a lavish lifestyle (she lives very modestly). it was all lost in the market. my grandmother is not savvy about stocks and such, she listened to her broker who promised to take care of her. obviously, he had her in some pretty high risk stuff despite the fact that he was handling her life savings... a total and complete tool, and he was promptly fired. but not until after my grandmother lost over $200,000 of her hard earned money. but now that bush is in charge, we will never see another depression again! right?

    Re: Administration E-Mail Urges Cuts in Social Sec (none / 0) (#11)
    by desertswine on Thu Jan 06, 2005 at 01:11:55 PM EST
    I don't think its right to make Social Security a game in which there are "winners" and "losers." And given the bush administrations record, these are the positively last people I'd want with their hands in the barrel.

    why is it my responsibility to ensure her $250,000 is invested wisely true liberal, it's not at this point. it'a totally her responsibility. but privatizing social security takes the promise out of it. in addition, no one has mentioned where the giant pile of money it will take to implement privatization will come from. plus, maybe it's just me - but it seems like the privatization plan makes new enrollees (like you get a choice) pay more, while simutaneously making the guaranteed payment to retirees lower...

    Re: Administration E-Mail Urges Cuts in Social Sec (none / 0) (#15)
    by pigwiggle on Thu Jan 06, 2005 at 01:56:43 PM EST
    kelite- “but privatizing social security takes the promise out of it.” I think SS will inevitably be transformed into a need-based safety net, that is the only real future for it. Well-placed (market) retirement funds have the same risk with double return. It is unrealistic to expect folks to take this kind of hit for much longer. “in addition, no one has mentioned where the giant pile of money it will take to implement privatization will come from.” It will come from us, but better from us than leaving this expensive, untenable ponzi scheme to my kids. “plus, maybe it's just me - but it seems like the privatization plan makes new enrollees (like you get a choice) pay more, while simutaneously making the guaranteed payment to retirees lower...” Something needs to be trimmed. There isn’t the money to provide all the promised benefits without a huge tax increase.

    pigiwggle; it just doesn't make sense to me - this does not seem like a good long term fix. like i said, i still have a lot of questions to ask... plus, once i start contributing to this 'need based' safety net... and not benefitting from that contribution... plus paying out the wazoo for the transition... isn't that basically welfare for the retired? why are you, of all people, defending it? truly, i am all for reforming social security. but i am pretty confused about this whole plan and what it means for me and my family.

    Re: Administration E-Mail Urges Cuts in Social Sec (none / 0) (#17)
    by pigwiggle on Thu Jan 06, 2005 at 02:21:05 PM EST
    kelite- “isn't that basically welfare for the retired? why are you, of all people, defending it?” It was from the beginning. When implemented folks that were retired began drawing benefits without ever contributing. I’m ‘defending’ it because I will get to invest some of my own money in place of the government. I think it falls far short of anything reasonable. I have seen plans that model a 6.5% individual investment that seem to balance the promised benefits. I’m looking over the Congressional Budget Offices projections for Bush’s plan now. I should be in a position to answer your questions soon.

    good, i will look forward o that :)

    Re: Administration E-Mail Urges Cuts in Social Sec (none / 0) (#19)
    by soccerdad on Thu Jan 06, 2005 at 02:37:13 PM EST
    Kelite here are some blogs to look at, they have been discussing it for some time do a search Angry Bear Brad DeLong

    Re: Administration E-Mail Urges Cuts in Social Sec (none / 0) (#20)
    by soccerdad on Thu Jan 06, 2005 at 02:38:10 PM EST
    kelite here are some other sites The Century Foundation Center for American Progress and here This is particuarly good - Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and this has a list of publications of SS and its reform Economic Policy Institute

    Re: Administration E-Mail Urges Cuts in Social Sec (none / 0) (#21)
    by pigwiggle on Thu Jan 06, 2005 at 02:57:57 PM EST
    Really, the best site for comparison of the plans with any real chance of being implemented is the Congressional Budget Office. Their recent SS related documents are here. Sit down before you look at this.

    We need to establish in the public mind a key fiscal fact: right now we are on an unsustainable course," Wehner's e-mail said. "That reality needs to be seared into the public consciousness; it is the precondition to authentic reform." Funny that they don't share the same concern for our unsustainable economic, environmental and energy policies. I guess those have already been privatized and deregulated enough to make the "reformers" happy for now.

    sweet! thanks, sd and pigwiggle! I kanow what i'll be doing tonight... i would be so much more well informed about this issue if it weren't for my 14 year old nephew and his ever changing demands for custom made cd's. if only i didn't have so music, i wouldn't have to spend hours slaving over mix cd's. i look forward to debating this issue further once i have looked over these sites. thanks again!

    Re: Administration E-Mail Urges Cuts in Social Sec (none / 0) (#24)
    by Tom Maguire on Thu Jan 06, 2005 at 03:40:12 PM EST
    In response to this from the original post: Remember Bush saying there were no plans to cut social security benefits for retirees? Bush has said repeatedly that current retirees and near retirees (generally thought to mean "55 and older") will not see *any* change in their legislated benefits, and nothing in this memo contradicts that. As on earlier commenter noted, the benefit cuts discussed in the memo, based on a change in the index, would be felt by younger workers; one might argue that most of them will be retirees one day, but that is hardly consistent with calling Bush a liar. MaxSpeak was good on this a few days ago; here is my excerpt of Bush in one of the debates providing reassurance on that point; the truly diligent can find similar reassurances in his recent economic conference on Social Security. I happen to think the Dems can win this debate on the merits, and do not need to resort to their own misinformation campaign.

    Re: Administration E-Mail Urges Cuts in Social Sec (none / 0) (#25)
    by soccerdad on Thu Jan 06, 2005 at 05:14:15 PM EST
    Ernesto Del Mundo Funny that they don't share the same concern for our unsustainable economic, environmental and energy policies They are well on their way to making tons of money due to deregulation of Environment and energy sectors. They have started down the road for medicine, now really the two big pots of money are SS and education. Then the rape by the corps will be well on its way to completion. The world and us are going to get a good look at unfettered capitalism (neo-liberal economic policy) and it isn't going to be pretty for the common man.

    kdog writes - "Personally, I think I'll be dead by 65..." You may find that you would have taken better care of yourself if you had known you would live so long." Ernesto writes - "Funny that they don't share the same concern for our unsustainable economic, environmental and energy policies. I guess those have already been privatized and deregulated enough to make the "reformers" happy for now." In case you missed the past two hundred years we haven't had a state controlled centrally planned economy. That includes energy pricing. So given that, what is your complaint? kelite writes - "it was all lost in the market. my grandmother is not savvy about stocks and such, she listened to her broker who promised to take care of her. obviously, he had her in some pretty high risk stuff despite the fact that he was handling her life savings..." Tell your Grandmother to get an attorney and have him file a complaint. The fact that the broker was fired is defacto evidence of his wrong doing, and the firm he works for should give her a healthy chunk of money back. As to your "needs based" comments. Current retirees have been contributing for years and years and years. There is no way that I can live long enough to get back what I paid in, and I paid the max in every year for the past forty years. et al - The fact is that the system was a sham from day one, and now we are seeing the end of FDR's Ponzi Scheme. We`are running out of people to pay in. Before long it will be two paying to one drawing. Something has to be done. You can raise taxes, again. It currently is around 12.2% on the first $87,900 of income. Here is a link. On top of that there is 2.9% Medicare tax on all income. Or you can delay start of payments. They already are doing that. Mine was delayed two months. The delay increases based on age. Or you can reduce benefits. Since old people vote, any politician who would do that is apt to have "ex" in front of their names as soon as the next election comes along. The problem that no one ever mentions is that the money that was supposedly went into the "trust fund" never went in. That was just a bookkeeping scam. Lyndon Baines Johnson moved it into the generl fund in '64. So AlGore's lockbox had been picked 36 years before. If the money had been invested in any reasonably managed fund, we would be rolling in the green stuff and this thread would not exist. But the Left won't tell you that. I guess they like poor people having to live off the government's dole. Make's them easier to control. And BTW. Your congressman and senator do not draw SS. If you want to sizzle, check out their retirement plan and healthcare. It is absolutely fantastic!

    Re: Administration E-Mail Urges Cuts in Social Sec (none / 0) (#27)
    by soccerdad on Thu Jan 06, 2005 at 06:48:32 PM EST
    PPJ as usual your claims aren nonsense. Anyone who calls it a ponzi scheme clearly demonstrates they have drank too much koolaide, but we already knew that. According to the CBO report from last July SS does better than private accounts and causes a smaller increase in the deficits comapred to CSSS plan2 which was private accounts+SS

    SD, you have to be either stupid, or just stubborn. You write: "According to the CBO report from last July SS does better than private accounts and causes a smaller increase in the deficits comapred to CSSS plan2 which was private accounts+SS" How in the blue eye world can this possibly be? You give them your money and they give you no return on your investment. Can I manage your investments? Please? Hey, I take back all of those comments I made. I mean, good heavens. I am LOL.

    Re: Administration E-Mail Urges Cuts in Social Sec (none / 0) (#29)
    by pigwiggle on Thu Jan 06, 2005 at 09:11:05 PM EST
    SD- You misread the CBO report; that is not what it said. You should reread it carefully.

    Are you drawing SS benefits Jim?

    Re: Administration E-Mail Urges Cuts in Social Sec (none / 0) (#31)
    by soccerdad on Fri Jan 07, 2005 at 03:29:20 AM EST
    PPJ I mis-spoke SS alone did better than SS+prvate accounts and btw FU

    Re: Administration E-Mail Urges Cuts in Social Sec (none / 0) (#32)
    by soccerdad on Fri Jan 07, 2005 at 03:37:36 AM EST
    pig I have spent the last week getting into discussions with you that have been couplete wastes of times. I'm not going to spend another day chasing this around. For a middle-income earner born today, first-year benefits even under the crisis scenario of Social Security "bankruptcy" would amount to $19,900. Under the private account scenario, initial benefits would amount to $14,600. When you and ppj call ss a ponzi scheme, its clear that your view has been distorted by all the kool aid you have been drinking. I gave a bunch of sites above that I suggest that anyone who is having questions concerning SS reform go to and read for thmselves. But experience tells me that arguing with either of you is a complete waste of time.

    Re: Administration E-Mail Urges Cuts in Social Sec (none / 0) (#33)
    by soccerdad on Fri Jan 07, 2005 at 06:15:59 AM EST
    Here a summary of some projections reported in WaPo. The source of the data is the Social Security Administration and chief actuary. Bottom line 2012 - If you are currently 60 years old, George Bush wants to cut your first payment by $11 a month. Don't forget, you will also suffer all the subsequent losses for as long as you live. 2022 - If you are currently 50 years old, George Bush wants to cut your first payment by $125 a month. 2032 - If you are currently 40 years old, George Bush wants to cut your first payment by $244 a month. 2042 - If you are currently 30 years old, George Bush wants to cut your first payment by $379 a month. 2052 - If you are currently 20 years old, George Bush wants to cut your first payment by $529 a month. 2075 - If you are currently a glimmer in your future parent's eyes [for your right wingers, that is "unborn child"], George Bush wants to cut your first payment by $933 a month.

    Re: Administration E-Mail Urges Cuts in Social Sec (none / 0) (#34)
    by soccerdad on Fri Jan 07, 2005 at 06:34:24 AM EST
    A further discussion of Model 2 SS+accounts is here To get an idea of whether SS is the problem we should really be worried about try here Is there a SS crisis - see here

    Re: Administration E-Mail Urges Cuts in Social Sec (none / 0) (#35)
    by soccerdad on Fri Jan 07, 2005 at 06:35:02 AM EST
    A summary of important points for SS discussion can be found here effects of changing from "wage indexing" to "price indexing" discussed here Is there going to be a SS crisis in 2018,? see here And OT to see how the Bush Admin is once again cooking the numbers in its budget projections go here I will try to provide pointers to Economic policy sites this pm

    Re: Administration E-Mail Urges Cuts in Social Sec (none / 0) (#36)
    by pigwiggle on Fri Jan 07, 2005 at 08:50:31 AM EST
    SD- “I have spent the last week getting into discussions with you that have been couplete wastes of times. I'm not going to spend another day chasing this around.” Why not? I’ve learned a lot from the sources you’ve given me and it has been fun. We both have the CBO, and can debate the merit of the csss2 plan based on the provided rigorous projections, so screw the blog citations. So, is SS a problem? I’ll tell you why I think it is and you can decide if you think this rises to the level of a ‘problem’. The SS surplus savings has been spent. Under current law, when outlays exceed revenue (~2018), we will need to pay this with increased taxes. I won’t bother linking to projections of the increased average tax, I know how you loath CATO, but I consider any increase in taxes substantial. Additionally, in 2053 when scheduled benefits can no longer be paid there will be a sharp decrease in benefits. This will be devastating to retired folks on fixed incomes who are largely dependant on these benefits. I hope we can agree that something needs to be done about this. Point two; getting out what you put in. I would like to point your attention to figures 4 of the CBO sup., particularly 4b or 4c. We see that the difference between current law and csss2 is negligible for the ratio of lifetime taxes paid to benefits received. Poor folks will get about twice what they paid in, the middle folks around 9/10, and the well to do around 6/10 or 7/10. Not a great return for anyone but the poor for either plan. What then is the advantage of csss2 over current law if the returns are the same? In figures 1, and more specifically 1b, we see that under current law there will be a drastic drop in benefits and a subsequent payout of all revenues. Under csss2 there is no drastic drop in benefits, and further, the plan will run a surplus about the same time current law cuts benefits.

    Re: Administration E-Mail Urges Cuts in Social Sec (none / 0) (#37)
    by soccerdad on Fri Jan 07, 2005 at 12:02:16 PM EST
    I sorry but I don't have the time to chase this around with you. The blogsposts I gave you should not be ignored. DeLong is a prof of Economics at Stanford (I think). Angrybear has economists. I will say that talking about return or rate of return is an attempt to recast the debate into an incorrect frame work. SS is an insurance it is not an investment vehicle. You can pay $1000/year for car insurance for 20 years and never collect. Whats your rate of return on that? SS is meant to provide some guaranteed minimum income to prevent diaster. So you are already trying to frame the question in an inappropriate context. The CATO people are neo-liberals whose real concern is how their trust fund is performing. As believers in neo-liberalism they view unfettered capitalism as the answer to everything. Not the kind of people I'm going to trust with my well-being. What thry want is more profits first, everything else comes second. So I will post specific links to other sites later today or tomorrow for economic policy sites that are not beholden to wall street. I feel confortable, after having been through a number of sites and analysis, in saying that the SS "crisis" is minor especially compared to current account deficits. Medicare will also be a bigger issue. The Admin will end up changing formulas so that payout will be less than it is now [and thats the bottom line], Wall street will make a killing [much like the companies selling the medicare cards], Everyone is free to make their own choice. I know your philosophy and its 180 degrees from mine. Lets agree to disagree and let it go at that.

    SD writes - "I will say that talking about return or rate of return is an attempt to recast the debate into an incorrect frame work. SS is an insurance it is not an investment vehicle. You can pay $1000/year for car insurance for 20 years and never collect. Whats your rate of return on that? SS is meant to provide some guaranteed minimum income to prevent diaster." If SS insurance then it is the worst value in the world. I would remind you that there are several types of insurance that do pay a return, unlike SS which does not. I rather suspect that FDR pushed the insurance name to get the public to buy into the program. And even if it was initally an insurance program, things change. What at first was meant as a supplement, as FICA became higher, and higher, started becoming the prime savings means of millions. If a person has an pre tax income of $50,000 then at 12.4% (current rate)they are putting $6200 into the system. That is probably an AFTER tax rate of around 18%. How much money is left to invest in a 401K, or other plans? Annswer: Damn little. SD, your problem is that you are scared to death the government is going to break your rice bowl.

    Re: Administration E-Mail Urges Cuts in Social Sec (none / 0) (#40)
    by soccerdad on Fri Jan 07, 2005 at 06:23:19 PM EST
    PPJ you suspect a lot of things unfortunetly you have proved you don't know anything. Your post is mostly defining things the way you want. Its supposed to be an insurance program so that if everything tanks there some money for everyone. Of course you will say well the staock market will never go in the toilet again. Except you can't promise that. If you look at everything I have pointed to, you would see that your statements are just so much kool aide induced delusion. Ok You can continue with your information free rant. Please continue I'm sure there some one new here today who doesn't yet understand the depths of your ignorance. have a nice nite

    Re: Administration E-Mail Urges Cuts in Social Sec (none / 0) (#41)
    by soccerdad on Sat Jan 08, 2005 at 05:24:53 AM EST
    the Center of Budget and Policy Priorites can provide the following info/analyses "price indexing" proposal willsharply reduce benefitss here Shortfall due to making tax cuts permanent = 3-5x that of SS shortfall and cost of perscrioption drug program = 2x the projected SS shortfall here Would Borrowing $2 Trillion for Individual Accounts Eliminate $10 Trillion in Social Security Liabilities? - here- The Implications Of The Social Security Projections Issued By The Congressional Budget Office Understanding the Social Security and Medicare Projections

    Re: Administration E-Mail Urges Cuts in Social Sec (none / 0) (#42)
    by soccerdad on Sat Jan 08, 2005 at 05:28:12 AM EST
    Re: Administration E-Mail Urges Cuts in Social Sec (none / 0) (#43)
    by soccerdad on Sat Jan 08, 2005 at 05:34:35 AM EST
    Re: Administration E-Mail Urges Cuts in Social Sec (none / 0) (#44)
    by soccerdad on Sat Jan 08, 2005 at 05:41:38 AM EST
    SD - A question. Do you pay into Social Security, or are you exempt? You have link after link, and they are all chock full of information. But the issue is straightforward. 1. We are running out of people to pay in, just as the receiver numbers are exploding. This means that it has to be fixed. Question is, how. 2. At 12.4% of the first $90,000 of income we have hit a point of strong resistance to the FICA. Note the many complaints that the "poor" shouldn't pay it, and that many people pay more FICA than they do in FIT. This demonstrates that people know that the government is using the money for whatever it wants, and that it is not in a "lock box." 3. At 12.4% most people don't have a lot of money left to save, so the SS payment is very important to them. And more people are aware of what ROI means, so when they see what they are paying and have paid in, versus what they will be paid back, they grow very angry. 4. Worse, the payback period has already been shortened by extending the date that benefits are available. 5. And people realize that they have paid all that money in, but they can't pass it on to their family on their death. 6. People realize they paid taxes on the money they paid in, and are now paying taxes on what is paid out. The pot then is just a bubbling away, and all the high flown policy papers and discussions means jack. The tax payer is demanding that it be fixed, and fixed in away that they can invest some of their money to allow them to make some money and improve their future. Now you may think them wrong. You may believe that the government should take 12.4% and not pay any interest. You may think that the money paid in should not be allowed to be passed on to the remaining family members. But the majority of the ameican people disagree. And Bush is way out in front on this, just as he was on medicare RX benefits. And, as a social liberal, I applaud these efforts to improve the lives of our citizens.

    Jim, are you drawing SS benefits?

    Re: Administration E-Mail Urges Cuts in Social Sec (none / 0) (#47)
    by soccerdad on Sat Jan 08, 2005 at 10:57:35 AM EST
    PPJ Yes i pay into SS. I am not exempt. I value the safety net, although I may not need it. With my new job and a 12k raise I'm now in the top 20% of wage earners. So I'm not looking for the "rice bowl" as you so derisively put it. I'm trying to look out for the welefare of everyone. Because I think thats what will make us a strong country. If you have been through all the links you will realize 1. there is no crisis 2. there are changes needed but the are relatively minor. 3. thereal issues facing America is current account deficits and medicare 4. The goal of the bUsh plan is to decrease payouts under SS only a portion of which will be paid out from private accounts so that the net result is lower payouts. 5. the current plan favors the poor (relative to what they pay in), but people like me who make well above the median wage have better access to other vehicles like 401ks and IRAs 6. the Bush plan puts the pooor at a disadvantage because of a liftime of lower wages they willend up with less in their private accounts and will lose the most in payouts compared to current system. 7. rate of return is not the proper context since this is an insurance against catastrophic events. 8. ways have to be found to encourage savings, its not at all clear that the poor releived of their FICA tax would put it into PAs instead of spending it on necessaties. We have to have some plan for catastrophic events. Especially with this crew in the white house. My father has told me about the depression. The only way his extended family made it was because of his father's farm. They grew vegtables and slaughtered cows to give every one food. I mentioned Bush's SS plan to him the other day and he went ballistic, he already knew it was nonsense. He thinks its a disgrace. having sold the farm and made a lot of money he doesn't need the SS but he has seen what happens when there is no safety net. We are already seeing Pension Funds fold up and now you want to remove SS or at least make it less effective. I don think thats the right way to go.

    Please, please don't trust me with my own money! While there are many reasons to oppose this plan, trusting a person with their own money isn't one of them. As for the grandmother, as awful as it is, why is it my responsibility to ensure her $250,000 is invested wisely. In a 4% municipal bond she would make an additional $833 per month tax free the rest of her life with little risk. In other words, much more than the social security she was receiving.