Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Leftist Social Security reform hate speech

Question: Is it possible for two bloggers to rationally discuss Social Security reform?
Answer: No! (at least in this case.)

I got into an interesting discussion with Mike over at his blog, “At Ease.” It started with his assertion the Brit Hume lied when the FOX News host used a portion of the following quote to support President Bush’s Social Security reform.
"In the important field of security for our old people, it seems necessary to adopt three principles: First, non-contributory old-age pensions for those who are now too old to build up their own insurance. It is, of course, clear that for perhaps thirty years to come funds will have to be provided by the States and the Federal Government to meet these pensions. Second, compulsory contributory annuities which in time will establish a self-supporting system for those now young and for future generations. Third, voluntary contributory annuities by which individual initiative can increase the annual amounts received in old age. It is proposed that the Federal Government assume one-half of the cost of the old-age pension plan, which ought ultimately to be supplanted by self-supporting annuity plans."
Brit Hume uses this to say that FDR saw a time when voluntary contributions to a private annuity account would replace the Social Security system. Mike wrote a post asking for Hume's resignation, saying that Hume lied. I just could not let that go unchallenged.

You can find our discussion on his blog. Please peruse the whole comment list. Mike says that Hume lied and mischaracterizes FDR’s intent. I say he didn’t.

What do YOU say?

Update: Mike, the gentileman with whom I had the original discussion, asked if I would post Hume's comment. So here it is:
Senate Democrats gathered at the Franklin Roosevelt Memorial today to invoke the image of FDR in calling on President Bush to remove private accounts from his Social Security proposal. But it turns out that FDR himself planned to include private investment accounts in the Social Security program when he proposed it.

"In a written statement to Congress in 1935, Roosevelt said that any Social Security plans should include, quote, 'Voluntary contributory annuities, by which individual initiative can increase the annual amounts received in old age,' adding that government funding, quote, 'ought to ultimately be supplanted by self-supporting annuity plans.'"

Does that change the discussion? Is Hume's comment a lie?

Update2: Another person has joined the original discussion. Both people are trying to say that Hume lied because there is no way that FDR would have ever wanted anything but full federal funding (via taxes) for the Social Security program. My response is, given the time is history, there is no way FDR would have proposed anything EXCEPT a program that would move from federal funding.

We have even discussed the notion of annuity. Mike conveniently ignores the fact that an annuity is defined as payments received over time because an initial investment is receiving interest income.

What do you think about this? Or do you all agree with Mike!