I'm actually a little surprised Vice President Cheney said this. But if he wants to be upfront about the folly of his administration's proposal, who am I to complain?
This from Fox ...
"We're going to borrow $758 [b]illion over the next 10 years to set up the personal retirement accounts. We think that's a manageable amount ... Trillions more after that," Cheney said, acknowledging that the personal accounts will help younger workers but will not solve all the problems of solvency.
As the Fox interviewer, Chris Wallace, made clear in the interview, the $758 billion number is itself the product of a little numerical flimflam. As Wallace says at one point in the conversation, "Isn't that misleading? Because under <$Ad$> your plan, the accounts, the program wouldn't actually start til 2009. So, if you take the first full 10 years, when people can actually invest in the program, the cost is over $1 trillion, and for the following 10 years, it's $3.5 trillion. Isn't it a lot more expensive?"
In fact, I think it's considerably worse than Wallace says. But let's leave that aside and assume it was only what Cheney says.
As we've noted repeatedly here, the biggest threat to Social Security is our accumulated national debt -- actually, even more our accumulating
national debt. If we only had the debt load we have now and weren't adding hundreds of billions of dollars every year
because of the president's policies, we could probably grow our way out of it.
In any case, indebtedness is our problem. And Cheney's solution is to borrow many trillions more dollars
over the next two or three decades, in addition to our existing structural budget deficits which are likely themselves unsustainable. And he and the White House now admit
this will do nothing to improve the financial condition of Social Security.
Following any reasonable calculation the entire debate should end right there -- though I concede that rational calculation ain't what it used to be.
Look what we hear from the administration's own collective mouth. Their solution to the problem does nothing to solve the problem -- not me saying it, them
saying it. However, it does cost trillions of dollars. In fact, it will cost -- by their own estimation
-- much more over the next 20 years than it would to keep Social Security going strong for the next 75 years.
At what point does this proposed policy collapse under the weight of its own ridiculousness?