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Waning Support for Bush Proposal

Bush’s social security proposal is in trouble.  According to a story in the Washington Post:

Support for Bush on Social Security Wanes

Barely One-Third of Americans Approve of President’s Plan, Poll Finds

The Post promises more detail from the poll after 5 p.m. I’d like to see what question was asked to generate the headline.  I’ll bet they didn’t ask this question:

"President Bush has proposed allowing workers to devote part of their payroll tax to fund private retirement accounts.  Would you prefer this plan or one that reduces social security benefits by 22%?"

I suspect that would have boosted the numbers supporting the Bush plan a bit.  It’s easy to dislike the Bush plan in the abstract.  But reality isn’t optional.  We are either going to have to raise tax rates, lower benefits or fiddle with the other rules of the system.  That 22% number is from the latest CBO study.

I like the word "wanes" in the headline.  It makes it sound like the whole idea of private accounts is just about done.  An alternative would have been "Twilight of an Idea: Bush Plan Headed for Dustbin."

When the dust clears, it will be fun to look back on the media coverage.  My favorite was the New York Times article ($ required) that looked at the world before social security as if Bush were planning to eliminate it.  The headline:

Life Before Social Security; ‘A Great Calamity Has Come Upon Us’

If you didn’t know better, the media coverage would lead you to think that private investing was against the law in the United States.  It’s so risky after all and requires so much time and knowledge.  Somehow, over half of us manage to invest and still sleep somewhat peacefully at night.


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