Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Conservatives laud Bill Clinton

Who would have thunk that conservatives would laud Bill Clinton for his proposal to reform Social Security? You'd think Clinton was John F Kennedy, to hear the gushing praise heaped on Clinton's alleged proposal to privatize Social Security.

Since conservatives seem to think Clinton knew how to save Social Security, let's set the way back machine to 1998 and 1999, and see what Clinton actually proposed.

PRESIDENT CLINTON: I believe, first of all, we have to reform Social Security in a way that strengthens and protects the guarantee for the 21st century. We should not abandon a basic program that has been one of the greatest successes in our country’s history. Second, we should maintain universality and fairness. For half a century this has been a progressive guarantee for citizens. We have to keep it that way. Third, Social Security must provide a benefit that people can count on. Regardless of the ups and downs of the economy, or the financial markets, we have to provide a solid and dependable foundation of retirement security. Fourth, Social Security must continue to provide financial security for disabled and low-income beneficiaries. We can never forget the one in three Social Security beneficiaries who are not retirees. And, fifth, anything we do to strengthen Social Security now must maintain our hard won fiscal discipline. It is the source of much of the prosperity we enjoy today.

And then there was the Heritage Foundation's assessment:

Clinton's Newest Social Security Plan: From Bad to Worse

including this gem:

  • Using general tax revenues for Social Security would set a dangerous precedent. Social Security has always been self-funded through an explicit tax. However, the IOUs added to the trust fund under the President's plan would have to be repaid with general tax revenues. Funding the system with other tax dollars would break down what little fiscal discipline remains and open the door to more irresponsible spending.

  • So. It sounds like Heritage is flat out against the idea of issuing real treasury debt to finance a "transition" to private SS accounts, doesn't it!

    How about this. Since conservatives praise Clinton on Social Security, why not just use his guiding principles? Oops. The proposals put forth by the Bush administration fail every one of Clinton's guiding principles.


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