Noam Scheiber is dead right about the White House’s new roundabout plans to phase out Social Security.
Read what he has to say.
There are many issues to discuss now that we’ve entered into a main phase of the Social Security battle — one in particular will be to keep a close eye on Cato, Club for Growth and the rest of the money lobby to see how well they warm to the idea of the tax increases the president is now floating as a way to pay for his plan. But the first thing to do is to focus and understand where the Democrats are in this debate and what they are after, and for all of them to resolve that it really doesn’t matter whether President Bush tries the front door to phase-out or the back door or whether he tries to break through the window or even just burn down the whole house. The goal is what counts. And the question is just what it is that people don’t like about Social Security in its current form.
President Bush kicked off this struggle by trying to raid Social Security (not the Trust Fund, but the program itself) of a third of its funding to set up his private accounts. Having hit a brick wall with the Democrats and numerous defections from Republicans, he’s now looking for a second roll of the dice. He’ll now try to bargain with more options on the table, perhaps offering to phase out less of Social Security or — and this is more likely — extend the time over which the program is phased out.
But the goal is the same: phase-out. In that sense nothing has changed.