First Democrats said, “What crisis?” But they lost the battle for public opinion on that front, as the vast majority of Americans (whether they support President Bush’s personal accounts plan or not) believe that the Social Security program is in serious danger. Democrats have been successful in marshaling opposition to the President’s plans, yet even their own constituencies have demanded to see “their plan.”
That’s where the situation gets a bit dicier for Democrats, as they’ve not had to lay any cards on the table to this point. Now reports are circulating that Democratic proposals may be forthcoming.
Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., who this year has proposed three pieces of retirement savings legislation, said Monday, “We need to work on strengthening Social Security, but if you look at where the immediate problems are, it’s not in Social Security, it’s in their ability to save for retirement and the amount they have saved.”
His bills would create automatic 401(k) enrollment; allow for direct deposit of a portion of an individual’s federal income tax return; and extend a tax credit for investing in 401(k) and Individual Retirement Accounts that is due to expire next year.
Peter Orszag, an economic policy adviser in the Clinton administration who now heads the Retirement Security Project, is recommending Emanuel’s proposals to extend the savings tax credit and automatically enroll workers in 401(k)s. Orszag also wants automatic increases in the percentage of income directed toward 401(k)s and the automatic diversification of assets in them as workers near retirement.If Orszag gets his way it will be state enforced mandatory savings (aka Socialism), which may be an easy sell to those who romanticize failed Western European socialist ideals of the past, but would rightfully look like a giant political pinata for Republicans.
Both parties have figured out it takes a lot less political capital to be “for something” as opposed to being “against everything.” If the shoe is changing feet it will be interesting to see how unified Democrats remain when someone like George Soros wants some political agenda payback for his investments. I can see the Soros platform now… legalize and tax drugs to fund Social Security!!!