When Bush supporters whine the Democrats have no plan, all they are really doing is saying they do not wish to engage in a real discussion. Today the President said this morning that he found Robert Pozen’s plan interesting:
Q: Will you say if you’re specifically supportive of an income test for the slowing of future benefits? Could that get some kind of bipartisan consensus going?
PRESIDENT BUSH: David, there are some interesting ideas out there. One of the interesting ideas was by this fellow – by the – a Democrat economist named Pozen. He came to visit the White House – didn’t see me, but came, tossed some interesting ideas out talking about making sure the system was progressive.
I find even more interesting this discussion between Tyler Cowen and Max Sawicky. Tyler suggests a gradual freeze. While Max objects, he agrees with Tyler that the General Fund deficits need fixing by some form of tax increase – either explicit or implicit. Price-indexing Soc. Sec. benefits represent a massive backdoor employment tax increase on young workers. Tyler suggests less of this form of backdoor tax increase. Note his plan would not give a massive subsidy to the General Fund paid for out of the Social Security financing. As such, Tyler’s plan would leave more of the General Fund financing up to future income tax increases. Me? I agree with Max – forget the backdoor employment tax schemes of the Bush crowd and go with a more honest approach to fixing the General Fund mess – such as what Howard Dean suggested.