News & Politics

Bush's New Social Security Tactic

Excellent. Professor George W.'s "60-day, 60-city, traveling medicine show" to sell the miracle cure of his Social Security privatization tonic to us gullible rubes--has been a bust.
As a result of George, Dick Cheney, and a plague of other big-shot Bushites going on this cross-country flim-flam tour, more Americans now oppose Bush's scheme than before the White House crew ventured out of Washington. So Bush & Company are now trying a new tactic: Class war.

George W. has come out for an arcane proposal he calls "progressive price indexing" as a new way for the government to calculate the amount of your Social Security check when you retire. Striking a populist pose, which is awkward for this elitist, rich son-of-a-Bush, George asserts that his accounting gimmick will fix most of the long-term financing gap in Social Security by cutting the benefits of the rich and increasing those of the poor.

But Mr. George Jennings Bryan is a fraud. The poor would get no increase in benefits under his indexing, and a millionaire's reduction would amount to only one percent, which is insignificant to the rich, since they don't depend on Social Security for their retirement.

The devastating cuts under Bush's "progressive" indexing would come in the retirement checks of the middle class. An average worker earning about $36,000 today would face a 16-percent cut in benefits, while those earning about $58,000 would see a 25-percent cut. The cuts grow more severe for today's youngsters who are not yet in the workforce. Coupled with Bush's privatization scheme, his indexing plan would leave millions of middle-class Americans with a monthly Social Security check at or near zero.

That's George's real goal: Gut Social Security. The rich don't need it, it'll pay zip to the middle class, and it'll become just a poverty program that then can easily be cut by future Bushites. That's not populism--it's cynicism.

Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of Let's Stop Beating Around the Bush, from Viking Press. For more information, visit
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