How many times have we heard free lunch promises from the GOP – especially in regards the Social Security issue? Well, Edmund Andrews reads the fine print. It would seem the GOP plan to save Social Security may include:
– Raise the age when people can start to receive benefits;
– Reduce payments to married couples;
– Scale back the indexing of benefits related to inflation; and/or
– Abandoning the practice of setting benefits as a share of people’s pre-retirement earnings.
But President Bush has “steadfastly avoided any reference to cutting future benefits”. Mr. Andrews notes, however, that conservatives and even some White House offiicials admit that privatization will not change the need to cut back on benefits.
Look – we liberals should admit there is a need to modestly cut back on benefits over the long-term if payroll contributions are not to be increased. But unless the Social Security reserves are going to be raided to pay for the General Fund recklessness of this White House (aka tax cuts for the rich), the key word here is modestly.
Oh wait, George Bush has no other means for reducing the Federal deficit than to raid our retirement accounts. Alas, he does not have the political courage to simply tell us.