Each week liberals find a new mud ball to throw at President Bush?s plan to restructure Social Security, and each week they are forced to regroup and change their tactics when they find it does not stick. Their first mud ball was to charge the president with scaring the public into thinking the program faces a fiscal crisis. Even when the Social Security Trustees issued a report in late March stating that the program was in worse fiscal straits than earlier predicted, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) stated, ?In reality, the program is on solid ground for decades to come.?
Liberals? second mud ball was an attempt to scare off support for Bush?s plan by citing the enormous transition costs the government would incur. The popular figure cited to enact the plan was $2 trillion. The transition costs, however, were proved to be a myth. Since there are no tangible assets in the Social Security Trust Fund, because Congress has already spent the money, Congress will have to look elsewhere to fund both current benefits and the programs it funds with surplus payroll tax revenues.
According to Edward Prescott, the 2004 Nobel Prize winner in Economics, moving to a system of optional personal retirement accounts would merely require re-labeling the debt that exists in the so-called Trust Fund. In other words, the government will not have to borrow one penny of new money to enact personal retirement accounts.
When that mudslinging did not stick, liberals turned to their age-old favorite tactic ? scare people. In recent weeks, they have tried to scare those receiving survivor and disability benefits into believing that a personal accounts option would necessitate a cut in their benefits. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) wrote in an editorial, ?What about the nearly 7 million workers with disabilities and their dependents who currently rely on Social Security disability benefits, often for 100 percent of their income??
Herman Cain is the National Chairman of the Media Research Center’s Business & Media Institute. He is the former president and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, Inc., and currently is CEO and president of T.H.E. New Voice, Inc., a business and leadership consulting company.
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