President Bush has given approval
for Senator Robert Bennett to put forth a Social Security bill without personal accounts. Washington Post
piece on the plan.
Sen. Robert F. Bennett (R-Utah), a strong advocate of personal accounts, has grown so concerned he has decided to introduce, as early as next week, a bill that will not include the accounts but would reduce the scheduled benefits for all but the bottom 30 percent in terms of income. He will also offer one with the accounts, but he is focusing on winning over Democrats on a solvency-only plan. "My sense is, let's get solvency going and make the argument for personal accounts on its own merit," he said.CNN
on the plan.
Bennett tackles the coming Social Security shortfall by making an overdue change -- long advocated by the late Democratic Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan -- of pegging Social Security to prices instead of wages. Questions for Debate: Is the option to invest some of your Social Security taxes dead? Will Democrats come to the table now that Bennett has a plan without private accounts? Will we see a SS bill signed before Spring 2006?
That requires a cut in future benefits. But Bennett would "blend" that cut -- deeper for the rich than the poor. This constitutes a non-partisan compromise. Significantly, Bennett does not raise taxes.
The Bennett plan tries to sidestep the furor over personal accounts by establishing an individual savings account outside of the Social Security system. Many Democrats are proposing similar plans, and nobody really thinks they would impel workers to save appreciably more than they do today.