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Social Security Smoke and Mirrors

So this is the best the Republicans could come up with? A plan that would extent the solvency of Social Security for two entire years at a cost of only $851 billion over the next 11 years. You know I just can't think of a better way to spend $851 billion than to allow people to invest $770 in a private account.

"The bill calls for establishing personal retirement accounts for workers under age 55 and stocking them with Treasury bonds equal to the surplus Social Security taxes the government will collect each year through 2016. Next year alone the program expects to receive $84.5 billion more in payroll taxes than it needs for monthly benefit checks."

The Republicans who back this bill tout it by saying the following,

"The GROW Accounts Act will stop the raid on Social Security by ensuring that Social Security taxes are spent the way they should be only on Social Security," Rep. Clay Shaw (R-FL) said.

What is the current Social Security surplus raided to fund? Funny you should ask. Silly things really like, "Currently such money is spent on other government programs or budget priorities, including tax cuts or funding for the war in Iraq"

So great, this will keep the GOP from raiding my Social Security to give Bush's oil buddies a tax break or funding the illegal war in Iraq. Instead they will use some Enron accounting to be all things to all people.

"While the bill's Republican sponsors describe the legislation as 'stopping the raid on Social Security' taxes, it would allow Congress to continue spending the surplus money through 2009, to ease the financial transition. At that time, a new central administrative authority would be empowered to expand the ways the money can be invested, as well as to propose an alternate means of financing the accounts.

That has prompted accusations by Democrats of duplicative accounting, as well as criticism that the accounts are merely a backdoor attempt to establish the private accounts favored by President Bush. Those accounts would be financed with a direct diversion of payroll taxes, not just surplus funds. So far the Bush plan has received a lukewarm reception both from the public and members of Congress."

I'm sure the White House's "Point Man" on Social Security John Thune will run home and tell us why this would be a great deal for us. I won't hold my breath.


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