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September 22, 2008


The phrase used - "privatization" - is generally neutral and is used by both parties.

You can advocate for it (in some certain specific context) or you can advocate against it (in some certain specific context).

That one sentence was poorly written but I think you are reading more into it than you should.

They are saying that some proposals to modify Social Security were criticized as a "risky form of privatization". It's that criticism that's being attributed to Democrats.

The Times was accurate. They used the present tense when they wrote, "...that Democrats call privatization..." Brendan's post actually supports the point that as of today Democratic opponents of such plans are the ones typically using the term.

The word "privatization" is not an accurate description of Bush's proposal. Dictionary.com defines "privatize" as

"to transfer from public or government control or ownership to private enterprise: a campaign promise to privatize some of the public lands."

However, Bush's proposal would leave the government fully in control of SS. I suppose "partial privatization" would be acceptible, although that terms is not particuarly descriptive of the specific proposal.

There is the matter of "privatizing control" - which could be substituting 'deferred savings plans' for 'income insurance plans' (or augmenting the later with the former).

Then there is the issue of how Social Security funds (held by the Government) should be invested.

If the funds are invested in the capital markets (such as the equity markets) that can be seen as a form of "privatization" as well.

So called private accounts would probably (?) have the same capability. That was a "selling point" for some in the discussion of private accounts (and also a point of significant criticism for others).

Seems that using the term "privatizing" is inappropriate, as it is too general or undefined (with regard to Social Security).

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