Wednesday :: Jun 8, 2005

Is The Fat Lady Singing For Bush On Social Security?


by Steve

(graphic courtesy of the Washington Post)

"My strategy is pretty simple: explain the problem to the American people, and keep explaining it and explaining it, and assuring seniors that you're going to get your check…and then at some point, the people of this country are going to say to Republicans and Democrats alike: Why aren't you doing something about the problem?"
--Bush, today

Still looking for that pony, Skippy? According to tomorrow's Washington Post, you've failed on Social Security. Their latest poll results show that after five months of making the privatization of Social Security the centerpiece of his second term, he is not gaining any ground and in fact has lost support across the board.

President Bush yesterday said his plan to restructure Social Security would improve the program's long-term stability without shrinking the retirement income of older Americans. But a new Washington Post-ABC News survey found a clear majority of the public does not believe that.
The poll found that 56 percent said the president's plan to couple new personal retirement accounts with a reduction in guaranteed benefits for most Americans would cut the overall retirement income of seniors. About a third -- 32 percent -- said Bush's proposals would result in future retirees receiving more money.
More troubling for a president who took a political risk by advocating reductions in future guaranteed benefits for all but the poorest Americans is that an even larger majority said the Bush plan would not fix the system's financial problems. More than six in 10 -- 63 percent -- said the proposals would not improve the long-term financial stability of the Social Security system, while 32 percent said it would.
(T)he findings suggest that Bush's ongoing campaign to win support for his proposals has produced few clear gains for the White House. If anything, his standing with the public on the Social Security issue is lower now than it was in mid-January.
More worrisome for the president is that support for personal accounts drops to 27 percent if it is coupled with a reduction in the growth of guaranteed Social Security benefits for future retirees, a provision the White House is considering.

Even as Bush is sending out trial balloons that he may be walking quietly away from private accounts so that he can position himself to claim victory with any outcome at all, Democrats should now be able to say that private accounts are dead, and that raising the income ceiling is the only alternative acceptable to restoring solvency frittered away by Bush’s reckless spending. Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas will try and put together a broad package this summer aimed at enticing Democratic support for more tax giveaways to the rich and sending more of the tax burden onto the middle class, but Democrats should rebuff any such attempts with insistence upon tax fairness, not more tax avoidance.

Steve :: 8:44 PM :: Comments (26) :: TrackBack (1) :: Digg It!