Skip to content

Rhetoric: Benefit “Cuts” or “Increases”? (Whichever one you choose, somebody’s gonna get screwed.)

May 4, 2005

From today’s Daily Howler are the facts that we would lay out to help people see the shape of Bush’s proposal. Note that you don’t have to use the disputed word “cut” to describe the basic facts that are involved here:

  • First: At present, middle-income retirees get a check from SS that equals roughly 36 percent of their previous income. Everyone agrees on that fact.
  • Second: Under the Pozen plan, such retirees would instead get 26 percent of their pre-retirement income. Everyone agrees on that, too.
  • Third: The Pozen plan only resolves about 70 percent of the system’s projected solvency problem. (Everyone agrees on that.) If Bush wants to fix the solvency problem without adding new revenue, he may have to set benefit levels even lower than he has said– at perhaps 20 percent.

Conclusion? At present, middle-income earners get about 36 percent of their income replaced by SS when they retire. Under Bush’s plan, that may be 20 percent instead. Just state those facts to the average person. Trust us: You won’t have to say the word “cuts.” And they won’t think of this as an “increase.”

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: