Thursday, September 23, 2004

Kerry Says Bush Social Security Plan A "Rip-Off"

One of the most popular plans introduced by the President in 2000, and and re-emphasized in this election is the plan to allow younger workers to create a voluntary private account with part of the money they pay in Social Security taxes. The individual would control the private account and could invest the money as they see fit. In an age where most people have the opportunity to use the internet to move their 401-K money around (albeit in a limited number of preselected funds) and where many people, especially people in their 20's and 30's have experience investing online, this is a fantastic idea. Having most of my friends and associates in that age group, I know how popular the idea is amoung younger voters (across the political spectrum). Most of them enjoy controlling their retirement funds and would love to have the opportunity to invest a portion of the money they pay into Social Security. It would give those paying a sense of ownership and the comfort of knowing that at least that small portion of their money would be there when they retire.

In a speech in Florida, John Kerry labeled the plan a "rip-off" that would take money away from senior citizens. He stated that he would never "privatize social security". That is a dishonest and misleading statement made with the intent to scare retirees into thinking that the evil Republicans will take their money away. He even stated that the President's plan will drive senior citizens "out of the middle class". How disgusting, pathetic and predictable. To say that George Bush is "privatizing" social security by allowing a portion of the population to choose to invest a portion of their retirement is to knowingly distort the plan in an attempt to scare retirees.

This came in the same speech in which he stated that the draft might be re-instated under George Bush. Apparently his falling poll numbers have driven him to reconstitute his "Fear and Misery" tour. John Kerry has decided to throw off at least a portion of the young vote for the retiree vote. Politically it may be a smart move as older voters tend to vote in larger numbers than younger voters. But he may be underestimating the motivation of young people to get to the polls this year and he may be underestimating the popularity of the President's plan.

The President's plan is part of his theme of an "ownership society" and it is registering with younger voters, more than John Kerry's plan of higher taxes and greater governmental control is registering with them. It is interesting that it seems that the Republican Party is now offering more concrete proposals that will help the younger generation than the Democrats, who are usually seen as the party of the young. John Kerry's calling the Social Security plan a "rip-off" might have a benficial short term impact for him, but it is likely to have the long term impact of helping to draw more and more young peopel to the Republican Party.

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.