Date registered: Jan 2005
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Dissembling in the State of the Union
Does George W. Bush lie? This, from Calvin Woodward of the Associated Press:
1. Bush said in the State of the Union that, under his plan, younger workers would be able to divert some of their S.S. payroll tax into private accounts "so you can build a nest egg for your own future." He failed to mention that the worker's S.S. benefits would be proportionally reduced as a result; he also failed to mention that the nest egg could be less than the money invested.
2. He stated "Your account will provide money for retirement over and above the check you will receive from Social Security," without explaining that the check would be smaller, of course.
3. He seemed to be issuing a guaranteed return on investment for people putting some of their retirement money in the market, saying, "Your money will grow, over time, at a greater rate than anything the current system can deliver." But when the British privatized their S.S. under Margaret Thatcher 20 years ago, they have seen average monthly retirement income for senior citizens there drop from around $1000 to $500. In fact, there is no guarantee in his plan, whatever, that investments will grow at all.
4. He declared that S.S. "would be exhausted and bankrupt by 2042," when, in fact, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office forecasts S.S. would be able to pay 73% of benefits in 2042--if nothing is done--and would remain solvent for at least 10 years after that.
5. In a portion of his speech dealing with economic progress in the last four years, Bush trumpeted the addition of 2.3 million jobs "in the last year alone," implying that he has delivered new jobs in each of the four years; in fact, there has been an overall job LOSS in his four years in office.
Additionally, MSNBC's financial expert said tonight that the irony of Bush's S.S. reform plan is that he is presenting it as an answer to pending S.S. insolvency, when, in fact, the privatization would do nothing to address the issue of insolvency.