Saturday, November 24, 2007

Private Accounts, Public Disaster

The Associated Press is reporting what some of the major party presidential candidates have to say about Social Security (see article at Raw Story.) In a nutshell, three of the Democratic candidates (Sen Hillary Clinton, Sen Barack Obama, Sen John Edwards) have all said that they favor "higher payroll taxes on upper-income earners" (I agree, as millionaires who wouldn't miss their future Social Security checks if they never got them won't miss the extra taxes taken from them); and five of the Republican candidates (Gov Mitt Romney, Gov Mike Huckabee, Sen Fred Thompson, Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and Sen John McCain) have all said they favor private accounts (which, make no mistake about it, is equivalent to saying they wish to abolish Social Security altogether.)

Money paid out in Social Security benefits today did not come from a Lockbox, but from the FICA taxes taken out of your paycheck today. It's basically a direct payment from your paycheck (and your employer's wallet, too) to the people getting the benefits. If you start telling people they don't have to pay into the system, less money becomes available to pay today's recipients. Since benfits are guaranteed, the difference must come from one of two sources - either higher taxes or more borrowing. Of the two, it is really better that we raise taxes on those who could most afford to live without the money. Should their benfits also increase since they'll be paying lots more into the system? Like I said, we're talking about the kind of people who wouldn't miss their Social Security checks if they never got them. Why bother raising their benefits? Does anyone really need to be that wealthy? Seriously.

What about the other candidate? Well, Congressman Tom "Bold Enough To Say It...(You're All Going To Die)" Tancredo favors private accounts. (There appears to be no truth to the rumor that Tancredo wants "to tax illegal immigrants back to their home countries".) There's Congressman Ron Paul, in addition to eliminating taxes on Social Security benefits (a fine idea), also favors private accounts. Finally on the Republican side, Congressman Duncan "Chicken Pilaf Dinner" Hunter" supports, you guessed it, private accounts. One of the abilities of the super smart people is a keen eye for pattern recognition. You won't need their help to see the pattern here. The Republicans seem Hell-bent on destroying Social Security.

What about the other Democrats? Funny you should ask. I've got that right here. Sen Joe Biden promises to "Protect Social Security, Not Privatize It". (He said so on his site.) Sen Chris Dodd suggests a Universal 401(k), and no privatization. Gov Bill Richardson didn't seem to have much to say about Social Security on his campaign site, and Congressman Dennis Kucinich didn't mention a plan for Social Security on his website, either, as near as I could tell. And finally, Sen Mike Gravel, who crawled out from under a rock to run for president, didn't make it easy for me to find his plan for Social Security on his website.

To follow news about all the candidates, I recommend Politics 1. I also recommend you not focus only on the Democratic and Republican candidates for president. They are not your only choices. That's just what they want you to believe.

UPDATE: Thanks to a fellow Critter, here's what Mr. Kucinich has to say about Social Security.

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