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3/03/2005

How To Talk to Conservative About Social Security (If You Must)

This is a great piece from ThinkProgress.org. Here are some of the highlights.

CLAIM: “In the year 2018, for the first time ever, Social Security will pay out more in benefits than the government collects in payroll taxes.” [President Bush, 12/11/04]

FACT: “In 14 of the past 47 years, including 1975 to 1983, Social Security paid out more in benefits than the government collected in payroll.” [MSNBC, 1/14/05]

CLAIM: “You’ll be able to pass along the money that accumulates in your personal account, if you wish, to your children or grandchildren.” [President Bush, 2/2/05]

FACT: Most lower-income workers will be required to purchase government lifetime annuities, financial instruments that provide a guaranteed monthly payment for life but that expire at death. Money in these annuities cannot be passed on to heirs. [NYT, 2/3/05]

CLAIM: “A personal account would be your account, you would own it, and the government could never take it away.” [President Bush, 2/8/05]

FACT: Bush’s Social Security plan is a far cry from the private ownership he’s touting, however. For example, instead of private plans that let Americans control their own investments, there are tight restrictions on which conservative stocks and bonds the public will be allowed to buy. And, as the New York Times reports, “the more restrictions there are, the harder it would be for people to achieve the outsized returns the administration has generally promoted to sell the public on private accounts.” [NYT, 2/6/05]

Read the entire post here. It is well worth it.

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