[EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
Bush Slips Social Security Privatization into 2007 US Budget !!!!
Subject: Sleight of Hand... Shrub attempts again to pull a fast one on
Congress and the American People
Here's one uncovered by Allan Sloan at Newsweek... after Shrub's
proposed turning of the Social Security safety net into a Wall Street
crapshoot (which went over like a lead balloon, and for good reasons),
Shrub snuck it into his 2400+ page budget proposal anyhow...
squandering an apparently 'spare' 715 BILLION dollars on a miserable and
unwanted program when we're already trillions of dollars in hock to
Communist China... and apparently hoping that nobody would notice until
it was a 'done deal" (just as so often happens with huge omnibus bills
sent to Congress).
Sleight of Hand
Bush buried detailed Social Security privatization proposals in his
budget. Can the surprise move jump-start bipartisan reform?
By Allan Sloan
Updated: 12:09 p.m. ET Feb. 8, 2006
Feb. 8, 2006 - If you read enough numbers, you never know what you'll
find. Take President Bush and private Social Security accounts.
Last year, even though Bush talked endlessly about the supposed joys
of private accounts, he never proposed a specific plan to Congress and
never put privatization costs in the budget. But this year, with no
fanfare whatsoever, Bush stuck a big Social Security privatization plan
in the federal budget proposal, which he sent to Congress on Monday.
His plan would let people set up private accounts starting in 2010
and would divert more than $700 billion of Social Security tax revenues
to pay for them over the first seven years.
If this comes as a surprise to you, have no fear. You're not alone.
Bush didn't pitch private Social Security accounts in his State of the
Union Message last week.
First, he drew a mocking standing ovation from Democrats by saying
that "Congress did not act last year on my proposal to save Social
Security," even though, as I said, he'd never submitted specific
Then he seemed to be kicking the Social Security problem a few years
down the road in typical Washington fashion when he asked Congress "to
join me in creating a commission to examine the full impact of baby-boom
retirements on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid," adding that the
commission would be bipartisan "and offer bipartisan solutions."
But anyone who thought that Bush would wait for bipartisanship to
deal with Social Security was wrong. Instead, he stuck his own
privatization proposals into his proposed budget.
"The Democrats were laughing all the way to the funeral of Social
Security modernization," White House spokesman Trent Duffy told me in an
interview Tuesday, but "the president still cares deeply about this."
Duffy asserted that Bush would have been remiss not to
include in the budget the cost of something that he feels so strongly
about, and he seemed surprised at my surprise that Social Security
privatization had been written into the budget without any advance
Duffy said privatization costs were included in the midyear budget
update that the Office of Management and Budget released last July 30,
so it was logical for them to be in the 2007 budget proposals. But I
sure didn't see this comingand I wonder how many people outside of
the White House did.
Nevertheless, it's here. Unlike Bush's generalized privatization talk
of last year, we're now talking detailed numbers. On page 321 of the
budget proposal, you see the privatization costs: $24.182 billion in
fiscal 2010, $57.429 billion in fiscal 2011 and another $630.533 billion
for the five years after that, for a seven-year total of $712.144
In the first year of private accounts, people would be allowed to
divert up to 4 percent of their wages covered by Social Security into
what Bush called "voluntary private accounts." The maximum contribution
to such accounts would start at $1,100 annually and rise by $100 a year
It's not clear how big a reduction in the basic benefit Social
Security recipients would have to take in return for being able to set
up these accounts, or precisely how the accounts would work.
Bush also wants to change the way Social Security benefits are
calculated for most people by adopting so-called progressive indexing.
Lower-income people would continue to have their Social Security
benefits tied to wages, but the benefits paid to higher-paid people
would be tied to inflation.
Wages have typically risen 1.1 percent a year more than inflation,
so over time, that disparity would give lower-paid and higher-paid
people essentially the same benefit. However, higher-paid workers would
be paying substantially more into the system than lower-paid people
This means that although progressive indexing is an attractive idea
from a social-justice point of view, it would reduce Social Security's
political support by making it seem more like welfare than an earned
Bush is right, of course, when he says in his budget proposal that
Social Security in its current form is unsustainable. But there are
plenty of ways to fix it besides offering private accounts as a
substitute for part of the basic benefit.
Bush's 2001 Social Security commission had members of both parties, but
they had to agree in advance to support private accounts. Their report,
which had some interesting ideas, went essentially nowhere.
What remains to be seen is whether this time around Bush follows
through on forming a bipartisan commission and whether he can get
credible Democrats to join it. Dropping numbers onto your opponents is a
great way to stick your finger in their eye. But will it get the Social
Security job done? That, my friends, is a whole other story.
Sloan is NEWSWEEK's Wall Street editor. His e-mail is [EMAIL PROTECTED]
http://personal.terabites.com/ 1977-2002 Twenty-fifth anniversary year
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Jim Rarey <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
U.S. Cites Rise in Violence Along Border With Mexico WASHINGTON, Feb. 10 Mexican criminal syndicates are stepping up their attacks on American agents patrolling the border as officials of the Homeland Security Department intensify efforts to stem the flow of immigrants and drugs into the United States, American officials said this week.In recent months, scores of Border Patrol agents have been fired upon or pelted with large stones as well as with cloth-covered stones that have been doused with flammable liquid and set ablaze. Since October, agents have been attacked in more than 190 cases, officials said on Thursday.Most of the attacks have occurred along the Mexican border near San Diego, but shootings have also been reported along the border in Texas near the cities of Laredo and McAllen. In the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30, there were 778 attacks on agents, up from 374 in the previous fiscal year, Homeland Security Department officials said.One stone struck an agent in the eye; a gunshot hit an agent in the leg. The officials could not say precisely how many officers had been injured in the attacks, which have originated from both sides of the border."This is what we're facing," said David V. Aguilar, the Border Patrol chief, who played a videotape at a news conference on Thursday that featured a patrol car riddled with bullets and agents scrambling for cover as stones rained down on them. "This is a very serious type of situation."The homeland security secretary, Michael Chertoff, who led the news conference, said officials planned to continue their efforts at securing the United States-Mexico border.This week President Bush asked Congress to increase the Homeland Security Department's budget by nearly 6 percent. The Border Patrol would receive an extra $459 million to hire 1,500 new agents, bringing the total force to about 14,000. An additional $410 million would be allocated to add 6,700 beds for detainees so fewer illegal immigrants would have to be released before being deported. Another $100 million would be spent on cameras, sensors and other detection technology.Mr. Chertoff said the department planned to focus on illegal immigrants from countries other than Mexico, who have typically been released after apprehension because of shortages of beds. Last fall, he expanded the use of summary deportations, a process known as expedited removal, in which illegal immigrants from countries other than Mexico are detained and then deported without seeing an immigration judge.But officials have struggled to find space for family groups and remain unable to process illegal immigrants from El Salvador because of a court ruling from the 1980's, when civil war wracked that country, that requires officials to allow Salvadorans to see judges before deportation.Nationwide, 18,207 illegal immigrants from countries other than Mexico, nearly 60 percent of the total apprehended, were released on their own recognizance in the first three months of this fiscal year.Officials of the Homeland Security Department said they were making headway in detaining and deporting these illegal immigrants. They are also working on finding more space for families and battling to change the rule regarding Salvadorans.As for the violence on the border, the officials said Mexico had deployed 300 federal officers along its side of the border to help out. But many of the Mexican gangs remain entrenched.Last week, immigration officials announced that they had seized a cache of weapons, including materials for 33 explosive devices, assault weapons and machine gun assembly kits, in Laredo. Officials believe the weapons were intended for criminals in Mexico."These are very sophisticated, hardened criminals who will use violence to protect their criminal businesses," Mr. Chertoff said. "We've got to be prepared to deal very decisively with any violence directed at our Border Patrol agents."
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