Thursday, February 03, 2005

Bush Addresses SS

Citing a system "headed toward bankruptcy," Pres. Bush formally began revamping Social Security on Wednesday.
Bush said any permanent solution must include his 10-year, $754 billion plan for private retirement accounts, a program Democrats bitterly oppose. To soothe the nerves of those at or near retirement he said he would leave current benefits alone for Americans 55 or old. Bush said the system would be bankrupt by 2042 with 2018 looming as the year when the system begins paying out more than it takes in. Bush laid out some options: Limiting benefits for wealthy retirees, indexing benefits to prices rather than wages, which would effectively slow their growth; increasing the retirement age, and discouraging early collection of benefits.A payroll tax of 12.4 percent split evenly between workers and their employers funds the current Social Security system. Under Bush's plan, workers could shift 4 percentage points of that contribution toward a private account.But in itially the contribution would be capped at $1,000 per year and would gradually rise.The accounts would be modeled after Thrift Savings Plans for federal government employees and would offer only a few, regulated investment options to minimize the investment risk. Various independent estimates have put the transition cost of moving to private accounts at $1 trillion to $2 trillion over 10 years.
Having Congress and a headstrong cowboy toying with our retirement savings is certainly nerve-wrecking, but I'll just look at it the way I'm taking in the invasion of Iraq--(really) ugly in the near term, but likely worth all the fiscal and physical mess when all will be said & done.

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