Bush’s Social Security Sleight of Hand
By Allan Sloan
Wednesday, February 8, 2006; D02

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 legislation.

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