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Ah, "Debunking"

I see Cato's done a "daily debunker" of the Schumer Social Security calculator that complains:

The calculator acknowledges that the President's proposals do not necessarily include a shift from wage- to price-indexing. It acknowledges that the President has not made any specific proposals to reduce Social Security's outstanding fiscal imbalance. It is well known that the President has called for open debate regarding such measures. Yet, the calculator proceeds to show estimates based on a particular method of reducing the fiscal imbalance--a shift from wage- to price-indexing--thereby incorrectly ascribing this feature to be a part of the President's proposals.
But of course the president's hand-picked commission on privatization recommended price indexing, the White House's official strategy memo on privatization said they were going to implement price indexing, unless I'm mistaken Cato supports price indexing, and even if the administration plan doesn't ultimately implement price indexing it will need to cut benefits by an equivalent amount. But if the White House really wants to debunk the view that they're proposing price indexing, they could easily say that they oppose it and take it off the table. Meanwhile, best as anyone can tell, price indexing is a part of the Republican Plan.

February 20, 2005 | Permalink


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The Bush social security plan is pretty vague. There are only a handful of ideas that explicitly off the table. I don't think it's fair to assume that Bush will switch to price indexing simply because he hasn't said that he won't. That said, I think price indexing is a very good idea and I strongly support it.

Posted by: Xavier | Feb 20, 2005 1:44:30 PM

Anyone who doesn't think Bush is proposing price indexing is a really bad tea leaf reader. I have seen at least two recent quotes from Bush in which he says something like "we should look at how we calculate the benefit rate, and if it makes more sense to do it by prices instead of wages." In other words, in as clear language as Bush is using about any plan details, Bush is proposing price indexing.

Posted by: cs | Feb 20, 2005 2:22:00 PM

The only realistic way to interpret the statements from the plan's shills about ever-rising benefits over time is to believe the President will eventually advocate some form of price-indexing. It probably won't be an exact replica of what's in the Commission's report, but that's detail. Cato are pushing the same dishonest line the WH is pushing - that because the WH has not been forthcoming about the fine print of its plan, criticism of is unwarranted.

The notion they advance, on the other hand, that the President's plan may include only a benefit offset for private accounts and no other reductions, is transparently bogus. That kind of plan would not even pretend to address the Trust Fund deficit, nominally the reason we need to 'fix' Social Security.

Posted by: Dan Ryan | Feb 20, 2005 2:24:57 PM

At least Schumer's calculator makes clear that the problem with Bush's proposal isn't the personal accounts piece, but the necessary cuts in benefits.

A more interesting calculator wouldn't include the personal accounts piece at all. After all, the relevant choices are cutting benefits and not adding a personal account, or just cutting benefits.

Posted by: Thomas | Feb 20, 2005 4:12:14 PM

nota bene: the original Cato did his damndest to drive the Romans into destruction by endlessly advocating bad policy based on hatred and bigotry. Carthago Delenda Est! You are either with us or against us in the war on terror. (rhetoric has fallen in modern times).

It is revealing that the modern day degenerates who group together under his name would so openly identify themselves to the tiny number acquainted with history.

Posted by: TomR | Feb 21, 2005 4:12:33 PM

Matt -

Totally off your website topic - I am desperately seeking your grandmother, Helen. I am married to Eric Drummer, son of Joan Drummer, the woman she based her book "How She Died" on. I was only recently made aware of this book as Barry asked that Eric not be made aware of it until after he was deceased.

My children are Joan's natural grandchildren, and I know nothing of her heritage other than that she and Helen were WW2 Russian Immigrants who went to college together.

If you would please have your grandmother contact me I would be so grateful.

Thank you,
Ingrid Drummer
Reno, NV

Posted by: Ingrid | Feb 23, 2005 1:33:19 AM

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