The Corner

Washington Post On Social Security

Folks are not happy with the Washington Post write-up of the actual plan on Social Security Jonathan Weisman reports as forthcoming from the White House:

One e-mail I got this ayem from a GOP pollster type:

i would say that the Prez’s opening bid is toast…

Problems with the plan:

1. not really private accounts

2. federal ownership of sinificant ammounts of corporate stock

3. long phase-in means new political clients would increase slowly as a %

of the voting public

4. participants only get back earnings over 3% return? huh?

The Democrats are going to attack this plan from the right and left!

Conservatives will NEVER vote for private accounts as described in the

details of the plan – or at least by Weisman.

Already talked to two top aides in the House and Senate and their response

cannot be aired be repeated on family television,

An e-mail from a Social Security strategist type:

The Old Media has given us an uncritical regurgitation of the anti-reform crowd’s argument that needs to be debunked.

Jonathan Weisman’s article on the Post is dead wrong. There is no “clawback” in the Social Security proposal the President outlined last night. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A59136-2005Feb2.html

The stuff about account balances and the amounts taken out is completely made up. People would own the entirety of their accts — opponents are seizing on the fact that people would give up bennies up front to get the acct to sow deliberate confusion about a clawback — which there is not.

I don’t know if this is an example of a journalist being hoodwinked by the opposition, or a deliberate misrepresentation of the facts, but the truth is this is a basic actuarially fair offset. An offset is based on how much you put into your account, while a clawback is based on your account’s end balance. With the second, all the risk and reward lie with the govt, which undermines the ownership element.

I wouldn’t panic yet. I’d wait for Ramesh’s read before getting too upset.

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