Wednesday, January 26, 2005

The illusion of control

Among the many contradictions in Bush's Social Security "Reform" plans (e.g., we should take on a huge financial burden now in order to avoid a huge financial burden in 40 years) is this whole concept that his plan would give people more control over their money (you know, the whole "ownership society" con job). Yet how much control would Bush's privatization give the American people?

Not a whole lot

Social Security accounts would limit control

By William M. Welch, USA TODAY

President Bush is selling his idea to transform Social Security with private investment accounts as part of a new "ownership society" for Americans. The accounts, Vice President Cheney says, would be "a retirement fund they control themselves and can call their own."

But the reality would produce a lot less individual control than Bush and Cheney suggest.

Major proposals, including those from the president's own commission, to revamp Social Security with private investment accounts include provisions that place big limits on how much money individuals can invest, where it can be invested, what they can do with it when they retire and how much they can pass on to heirs.

If Bush and his people really did believe in giving more control to people over "their money" than they wouldn't be proposing these kind of straight-jacket accounts. They would just simply say, "cut the payroll tax and you can do whatever you want with it!"

But they know that wouldn't sell.

So they use the veneer of "ownership" to push a plan that really gives more control of the money to stock market investment firms than it does to the American people.


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