Not surprisingly, Democratic Party leaders were quick to attack President Bush?s most recent proposal to help restructure Social Security by labeling it a ?benefit cut on the middle class.? The president?s proposal would, in fact, provide lower-wage workers a higher increase in benefits than wealthier retirees. This idea was to complement optional personal retirement accounts for younger workers. But once again, Democratic leaders heard only what they wanted to hear, even if they didn?t hear it.
Following the president?s press conference House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) stated, ?President Bush struck another blow to Americans? wallets last night when he proposed the single biggest cut in Social Security benefits for the middle class in history.?
Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) echoed, ?Privatization plus deep benefit cuts to middle class citizens is even worse than privatization alone.?
Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI) argued, ?The president?s offer of sliding scale benefit cuts would result in the biggest cut in the history of Social Security.?
These baseless accusations are easily refutable. First, Bush did not propose a cut in Social Security benefits. He proposed a higher rate of benefit growth for those who need it the most.
Second, those aged 55 and older will continue to receive their expected benefits. Third, younger workers will have opted out of the system and, over time, begun funding their personal retirement accounts. Social Security benefits have never been cut in the history of the program, and they never will be unless Congress fails to enact Bush?s proposals.
Democrats would surely laud the president?s plan as a ?21st Century New Deal? if it had been proposed by a Democratic president. Since Bush is a Republican though, his plan must be demonized as a ?benefit cut on the middle class.?
Liberals love to divide us by economic class, and discuss policies in terms of which class will benefit or suffer by their passage. The problem is that class is a moving target. What are the magical income levels that define poor, middle, and rich?
Further, Democrats assume that no one has the ability to rise above the economic situation into which they were born. People climb up the income ladder everyday when they work at it.
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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