The emerging cliche that the White House is running Social Security from the same playbook as tax cuts and the war in Iraq is proven right once again. Today's Washington Post suggests that the administration is looking at proposing a phase-in of its private accounts plan. This would do little to reduce the overall transition cost of adding private accounts, but would reduce the increased deficits they will cause when measured in conventional five and ten year projections. It's the same kind of gimmickry they used with the tax cuts, which phase-in and expire in all kinds of strange ways, concealing their massive long-term cost.
Here's the Post:
Bush, who plans to make Social Security the centerpiece of tomorrow's State of the Union address, has privately told GOP lawmakers and aides that he would support phasing in changes to the system to keep deficits under control over the next several years...
One way of holding down short-term costs would be to allow Americans to shift gradually part of their payroll taxes into private accounts. Critics say this would do little to reduce the overall transition cost, which experts say could cost $1 trillion to $2 trillion over the next two decades.