Here's an important new development in the Social Security story.
According to this article
by David Espo of the Associated Press
, a group of senate Republicans met privately on Thursday to try to come up with a Republican consensus plan on a Social Security bill they can move through the Finance Committee and presumably on to the floor.
The key point: the plan under discussion not only jettisons private accounts, it seems also to jettison the key elements of the Bush Sorta-Pozen plan released little more than a month ago.
The devil would very much be in the details on this. But according to Espo, the plan under discussion would involve a gradual increase in the retirement age and a freeze, or near-freeze, in the annual wage-linked rise in benefits at retirement for upper-income earners.
Again, Espo's description is less precise than you'd want it to be to know exactly what was discussed. But what he seems to be saying is that unlike the early-May Bush plan (Bush Phase-Out 2.0?) which said
it cut benefits for upper-income earners but actually cut them for almost everyone, this plan would really
only cut them for upper-income earners.
To my reading, this sounds very much like the phase-out death rattle, the phase of a legislative struggle -- grimly reminiscent for some of us of late 1994 -- in which a doomed legislative initiative rapidly de-evolves into more and more pitiful and anemic forms of its original self before finally disappearing into thin air -- perhaps with not a few of its champions going 'poof' along with it.