April 30, 2005


Bush Plan Aids Poor, Squeezes the Rest (Peter G. Gosselin, April 30, 2005, LA Times)

As the full dimensions of President Bush's Social Security plan come into view, so too does a broader vision: improving benefits for the poorest Americans while reducing the reliance of everyone else on government programs that long have seen them through economic difficulties.

Although Bush devoted most of his prime-time news conference Thursday to describing how he would expand Social Security protections, virtually all of his improvements would be aimed at the bottom one-third of American wage earners. The remaining two-thirds would see their future Social Security benefits curtailed, a reduction that they'd be encouraged to make up by saving and investing of their own.

The president often portrays his effort as simply trying to accommodate reality; funds to pay full Social Security benefits are expected to run short toward the middle of the century. But his approach also corresponds to a long-held conservative goal of reducing Washington's influence in the lives of ordinary Americans and to the aim of his chief political strategist Karl Rove to realign the nation along Republican principles.

"What you're going to see is an effort to scale back middle-class entitlements that many people do not need and to become more focused on the antipoverty aspects of these programs," said Michael Tanner, an expert on Social Security at the Cato Institute, a Washington think tank that advocates small government.

"We're going to tell non-poor Americans that they are going to have to save more on their own and not depend on a transfer from government," he said.

Interesting how neither the Left nor much of the Right grasps just how ambitious the President's Third Way concept of an Ownership Society is. Both hate the idea of government mandated personal responsibility, though the former because it hates government and the latter because it hates personal responsibility.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 30, 2005 9:33 AM

"Besides finding holes, Sayers was noted for his "cuts," changing direction and eluding tacklers without losing speed."


Posted by: Jason Johnson at April 30, 2005 9:48 AM

John Tierney has another column in the New York Times today taking a meat ax to the Democrats' idea of maintaining Social Security the way it is, and calling them on their hypocracy. No doubt this probably means Paul Krugman will see him as part of the VRWC, and will think he plans to assault, abduct or shoot him if they pass in a hallway on West 43rd Street in the near future, when Paul finally shows up to deliever his own Social Security reform plan he promised the Times' readers back on January 4.

Posted by: John at April 30, 2005 11:19 AM

There are a lot of possible sources for the asterisk. For example:

Pulitzer Prize-winning sportswriter Red Smith: "He wasn't a bruiser like Jimmy Brown, but he could slice through the middle like a warm knife through butter."

George Halas: "The average back, when he sees a hole, will try to bull his way through. But Gale, if the hole is even partly clogged, instinctively takes off in the right direction. And he does it so swiftly and surely that the defense is usually frozen."

Bill Cosby : "He is the man who splits himself in half and leaves the half without the football with the tackler."

I like the last one.

Posted by: Pat H at April 30, 2005 11:22 AM

Gale Sayers set records for most touchdowns in a game, and most in a season. My theory is that the headline is saying that, like Sayers, every time Bush takes an issue, he scores.

Posted by: b at April 30, 2005 11:26 AM

Jeez, interpeting OJ's headlines is becoming like Kremlinology here.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at April 30, 2005 12:27 PM

The easiest course is to return to the original notion of the Townsend Plan and that is to transfer an identical monthly payment to every recipient regardless of how much he contributed. Such a change would of course eliminate the need for a FICA tax and allow it and the income tax to disappear to be replaced by a VAT or consumption tax.

Posted by: bart at April 30, 2005 3:47 PM

"interpeting OJ's headlines is becoming like Kremlinology here."

I am sure OJ would prefer Vaticanology.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at May 1, 2005 4:22 PM