The left side of the blogosphere has gone into full-blown spin mode regarding the effects of President Bush’s Social Security indexing proposal.
Here’s Josh Marshall:
let’s state specifically what this to-some-sexy-sounding proposal offers: steep benefit cuts for all but the lowest income Americans and meager increases in benefits for them. It’s hard to see how there’s anything particularly progressive about gutting Social Security for the entire middle class.
Armando at Daily Kos:
Yes, give the wealthiest a huge tax cut by repealing the estate tax. Screw the middle class by cutting their future social security benefits. Typical BushCo approach.
Bush has not proposed increasing benefits for very low income workers. He’s just proposed not cutting them – and cutting everyone else’s a lot.
As I noted below, Bush’s indexing plan guarantees middle- and upper-income retirees the same level of benefits they get now (after adjusting for inflation). Their benefits would not, however, grow above the rate of inflation, as is the case under the status quo.
The savings would be used to allow working people of all income levels to set aside some of their Social Security taxes into private retirement funds. Under reasonable assumptions about investment returns, those accounts could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars 40 years from now.
There was a time when liberals could be counted on to defend the interests of working class Joes. Marshall and the others are now taking the exact opposite position. They are saying, in effect, that ensuring ever-increasing benefits for well-to-do retirees is more important than promoting the financial well-being of young working people.
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