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January 20, 2005

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Bush hasn't actually proposed a plan yet, but the one that gets the most attention is CSSS #2, which includes a proposal that changes initial benefit levels from wage indexing to price indexing. This wouldn't affect anyone who's already retired, but it would very definitely affect seniors who retire over the next ten years. Reid's comment isn't quite as outlandish as you make it out to be.

That's a fair point. Two responses:
-CSSS plan 2 doesn't switch to price indexing until 2011 according to the CBO report. So the first people who would be affected by it if they're retiring at 65 are about 59 now - I wouldn't call them "today's seniors," a phrase that clearly implies people over 65, most of whom are retirees. And people retiring in 2011 or shortly thereafter would only be minimally affected - the change in the benefit formula takes time to bite.
-Also, McAuliffe wrote that Bush is going to "Undermine Social Security for today's seniors and future generations of retirees by privatizing the system." But as many of us have pointed out, privatizing the system is a separate issue from switching to price indexing. Obviously, he's using partisan jargon, but it's still bogus.

PS For those who are interested, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has published a more detailed explanation of how benefit calculations would work under the CSSS plan. Apparently, it's more complicated than the shorthand of "price indexing" implies.

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