Bush on Social Security

Bush is putting out the red flag, as are many Republican leaders, about Social Security. Today, in his weekly radio address, Bush tried to flame the lies that he’s been carpet bombing with lately, saying that Social Security won’t be there for us. Nevermind that it’s been proven that Social Security will be solvent through 2052 for 100% of benefits, and 80% of benefits beyond that. Slight program adjustments need to be made, not the drastic sell off of our retirements to the private corprations running Wall Street.

If he’s so concerned about it, why won’t Bush allow the ceiling on wages that are taxed for Social Security to be raised? Currently it stands at $87,900. Bush doesn’t believe that people making above that should have to be “burdened” with paying into the system. It just proves that he’s a hypocrit.

CNN article archived here.Bush eyes Social Security threat
Cites “looming danger” in push to add private accounts to federal program.
December 11, 2004: 1:08 PM EST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President George W. Bush said on Saturday Social Security must be overhauled to avoid a “looming danger” of insolvency, as he launched a public push for his proposal to add private accounts to the program.

Bush faces a tough sell on his proposal, which is estimated to involve $1 trillion to $2 trillion in transition costs.

The president’s aides have insisted the up front costs for Social Security reform will be worthwhile in the long run because the private accounts will eventually improve the long-term solvency of the program as workers reap potentially higher returns in stock and bond investments.

“The Social Security system is essential, yet it faces a deepening long-term problem,” Bush said in his weekly radio address.

“While benefits for today’s seniors are secure, the system is headed towards bankruptcy down the road. If we do not act soon, Social Security will not be there for our children and grandchildren,” he added.

Bush said the retirement system, in which worker payroll taxes pay for the benefits of current retirees, will face growing strains as the number of senior citizens grows in proportion to the working-age population.

“These changes signal a looming danger,” Bush said.

Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada insists: “There is no emergency at this time.” The incoming Senate Democratic leader argues that Social Security trust funds will provide full benefits for almost 50 years.

Bush’s Social Security plan, a main theme of his re-election campaign, would give younger workers the option of diverting a portion of payroll taxes into private accounts.
No payroll tax hike

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, has floated a proposal to raise the income level subject to Social Security tax from $87,900 now to as much as $200,000. The proposal would generate $1 trillion over 10 years mostly by raising taxes on the rich.

It was seen by many on Capitol Hill as one way the Republicans could try to attract some Democratic support to Bush’s proposal.

However, Bush earlier this week ruled out any increase in payroll taxes and reiterated his opposition in the radio address.

“We must not increase payroll taxes, because higher taxes would slow economic growth,” Bush said.

By ruling out a payroll tax increase, Bush left himself few options other than a sharp increase in government borrowing to pay for the transition. That increase would come as the government already faces high budget deficits.

Reid said he would not support a plan that requires “massive increases in debt.”

Social Security reform and simplification of the U.S. tax code are the two main items on Bush’s economic agenda for his second-term economic agenda.

The White House has signaled it intends to move forward first on Social Security. Bush plans to appoint a panel of experts to study tax reform for at least a few months before starting a legislative push.

Hoping to highlight the theme, Bush is planning an economic conference on Dec. 15-16 in Washington. Top of page
Copyright 2004 Reuters All rights reserved.

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