This latest move by Bush is ridiculously underhanded.
Last year, even though Bush talked endlessly about the supposed joys of private accounts, he never proposed a specific plan to Congress and never put privatization costs in the budget. But this year, with no fanfare whatsoever, Bush stuck a big Social Security privatization plan in the federal budget proposal, which he sent to Congress on Monday.
His plan would let people set up private accounts starting in 2010 and would divert more than $700 billion of Social Security tax revenues to pay for them over the first seven years.
Here’s what this plan means in real numbers…
On page 321 of the budget proposal, you see the privatization costs: $24.182 billion in fiscal 2010, $57.429 billion in fiscal 2011 and another $630.533 billion for the five years after that, for a seven-year total of $712.144 billion.
In the first year of private accounts, people would be allowed to divert up to 4 percent of their wages covered by Social Security into what Bush called “voluntary private accounts.” The maximum contribution to such accounts would start at $1,100 annually and rise by $100 a year through 2016.
It’s not clear how big a reduction in the basic benefit Social Security recipients would have to take in return for being able to set up these accounts, or precisely how the accounts would work.
Good lord, what is he trying to pull with all of this? And I’m not the only one complaining. Look at the overwhelming social security poll numbers from Americans who do not like Bush’s handling of this situation.