Saturday, July 2


Seems the Rethugs are having a dispute over whether to propose measures to increase Social Security solvency or just concentrate on passing private retirement accounts. This needs to be spread all over the media; the people need to know the truth, that the administration is using the whole "Social Security is going broke" argument is a smokescreen for killing the program altogether. Bush's purpose all along has been to destroy the most effective and popular government program in history (and a feather in the cap of the Democratic Party), and this spat merely demonstrates that financial preservation of Social Security matters not in the least to the administration -- it's just a ruse to carve out private retirement accounts, the first step in their plan.

And how do the Rethugs propose we finance the private accounts? By draining the Social Security cash reserve.

While Republicans might want to avoid the political risk of making benefit cuts to address solvency, such a move has its own peril. It would call into question the urgency of President George W. Bush's demand for an immediate overhaul of Social Security to secure its finances.
Last week, House and Senate Republicans unveiled legislation that would use the cash reserve of Social Security to create the accounts. Bush proposes letting workers younger than 55 divert as much as a third of the 12.4 percent Social Security payroll tax into personal accounts that could be invested in stock and bond funds. The administration estimates it would cost the government $754 billion in revenue over 10 years.

Representative James McCrery, a Louisiana Republican who heads the Social Security subcommittee, outlined the plan to fund private accounts with the Social Security reserve to Republicans in a meeting yesterday.

``No member who talked about this, and dozens of members did, had a single negative comment,'' said Representative Roy Blunt of Missouri, the No. 3 Republican.

The legislation on its own would pass the House if voted on now, Blunt said.
Democrats said they aren't budging from near-unanimous opposition to any bill with accounts, which they charge would destroy the current system by draining it of funding.

``It's directly contrary to what we'd agree is prudent public policy,'' said Representative Earl Pomeroy, a North Dakota Democrat who's a member of the Social Security subcommittee. ``This is the time we ought to be shoring up'' the system, not diverting money to accounts, he said.

So the Rethugs say the House would pass the proposed legislation. But, thank God, at this point there aren't enough votes in the Senate. The very real intentions, however, of the Republicans should be one of the primary issues of the 2006 elections. The people should be told, over and over again, how real the peril to Social Security is should Congress remain in the hands of the R's.


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