Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Bush's biggest (failed) domestic accomplishment

At a recent lunch at the White House, President Bush cited his push to privatize Social Security as his biggest domestic policy accomplishment:
On domestic policy, Bush was asked if he made progress in some areas for which he hasn’t and probably won’t get credit. Topping his list was his unsuccessful drive in 2005 to reform Social Security. Bush said his effort showed it’s politically safe to campaign on changing Social Security and then actually seek to change it.

He also said it was important to have raised private investment accounts as an attractive option in reforming Social Security.
An attractive option for whom? The thousands of Wall Street brokers who stood to make lots of money off fees and commissions?

We're lucky Bush was unsuccessful or we could be experiencing what people in Italy are facing today.
Italy did for retirement financing what President George W. Bush couldn’t do in the U.S.: It privatized part of its social security system. The timing couldn’t have been worse.

The global market meltdown has created losses for those who agreed to shift their contributions from a government severance payment plan to private funds meant to yield higher returns. [...]

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s administration is now considering ways to compensate as many as 1.2 million people who made the switch, giving up a fixed return for private plans linked to financial markets.
According to a Milan law firm, “The reform didn’t help anyone. ... Not the government, which was hoping everyone would make the switch to take the strain off its coffers, nor the workers who have not resolved the problem of needing a supplement to their social security pensions.” One 43-year-old father of three said he "would sign with “two hands and two feet” if he could switch back."

McCain proposed privatizing social security too. Thank goodness he lost and Bush is retiring to his $2.1 million dollar house in Dallas. Let's hope that puts the whole notion in the circular file for good.


K. said...

He actually thinks he made progress toward privatizing Social Security? Once again, he demonstrates an unmatched capacity for self-delusion. Two more weeks...

Kathy said...

K, only two more weeks, but it will take years and years to undo the damage.

abi said...

Unbelievable. That's like me saying my greatest accomplishment in college was failing to get a date with the sexiest girl in school. And my intentions were a lot more honorable than Bush trying to dump social security (and believe me, my intentions were hardly honorable).

Kathy said...

Abi, less than honorable intentions? I'm shocked. ;-)

I think Bush is so concerned about his legacy that he's throwing anything he can against the wall to see what sticks. He lives in a fantasy world. It's not possible to create something out of nothing.

K. said...

Yeah, it's like...I know! Putting lipstick on a pig!