On behalf of the editors, David McNaughton writes this stunning editorial titled: A fix needed, quickly in today’s Atlanta Journal Constitution:
Social Security has as much chance of getting fixed under the Democrats as it did under the Republicans. That’s slim to none.
To dispel that notion, Democrats must do more than criticize from the sidelines while President Bush beats a dead horse in the form of risky private savings accounts. The president tried to renew interest in those accounts — a partial substitute for Social Security, but no solution to the problem — just before this month’s midterm election.
But if there was a Democratic plan to put Social Security on solid financial footing, it was the best-kept secret of the campaign.
I say this is “stunning” because for six years now, President Bush has been urging Congress to make changes to Social Security and Democrats in the Senate have blocked it. Why the rush to reform Social Security now?
Bush proposed partial private accounts, which Democrats and Mr. McNaughton dismiss out of hand. McNaughton’s solution? Raise taxes of course.
For six years we’ve heard that Social Security was in great shape, if anything, only minor tweaks were necessary. In fact, Cynthia Tucker (an editor herself, and one who presumably agrees with McNaughton’s article) wrote in February of 2005:
Social Security will be able to pay every dime promised to beneficiaries until 2042. (The Congressional Budget Office gives it another decade.) After that, with no fixes, it will begin to run a deficit and will only be able to pay three-fourths of the benefits promised. Does that sound like “exhausted”? “Bankrupt”?
Even that crisis of diminished benefits (which won’t kick in until the Bush twins are nearly old enough to collect Social Security themselves) could be headed off with a modest increase in the payroll tax, which is currently quite regressive, costing people who earn less a higher percentage of their incomes.
Democrats were so happy about blocking reform they cheered lustily at last year’s State of the Union address.
So why then do Democrats need to fix Social Security “quickly?” Does that mean before Republicans take back the Congress or before Social Security goes broke?