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Social Security potshots

Post by David Seago on Oct. 20, 2006 at 5:27 pm |
October 20, 2006 5:27 pm

Democratic forces have been hammering Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike McGavick this week with charges that he wants to "privatize" Social Security.

McGavick must be feeling the heat, because his campaign yesterday released a "web ad" – an online video – insisting his Social Security proposal doesn’t amount to privatizing it.

The Dems responded today with a web ad of their own mocking McGavick’s defensive stance.

Who’s right? That’s hard to say. We’re going to give that some thought. But here’s what McGavick told the Seattle P-I:

“McGavick, though, said in an interview that under his plan to keep Social Security solvent, younger workers would be able to ‘choose from three investment models: the current one, or one moderately invested or heavily invested, but not (managed) by individuals themselves or by Wall Street, but managed by the government in those different styles… ‘”

What’s Maria Cantwell’s prescription for keeping Social Security solvent? Here’s what she says on her website, which is pretty vague if you ask me. And probably intentionally so. On private accounts, she has this to say:

Maria opposes privatizing Social Security. Americans should be able to supplement their savings by investing in additional individual savings accounts, but it is too risky to convert an individual’s Social Security account to an unguaranteed private account managed by Wall Street. Because seniors spend a large share of their income on health care, which has a much higher rate of inflation than other goods, Maria believes Social Security payments ought to keep pace. That’s why Maria introduced The Consumer Price Index for Elderly Consumers Act of 2005 to increase Social Security payments via an "elderly index."

Let’s note that neither candidate actually says how they would pay for keeping Social Security solvent or, in McGavick’s case, how the government pay for the Social Security obligations it already has. I think there’s no way to get there without raising payroll taxes or cutting benefits, or both.

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