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GOP Senator Under Fire from the Right
Human Events Online ^ | March 29, 2005 | Robert Bluey

Posted on 03/29/2005 12:48:56 PM PST by hinterlander

A Republican senator promoting the idea of a payroll tax increase is under fierce attack by some conservatives.

Sen. Lindsey Graham's proposal to lift the $90,000 cap on payroll taxes to pay for Social Security reform has prompted the conservative Club for Growth to blanket his home state of South Carolina with television ads accusing the first-term Republican of proposing a "huge tax hike" that would hurt families and small businesses.

"Why Lindsey Graham? He is the one Republican who is by far the most outspoken advocate of lifting this cap and raising it very significantly. This would be a devastating tax increase," said former Rep. Pat Toomey, who now serves as the club's president. "He has designated himself in this role as the person who's going to try to bring the Democrats on board. But what has it accomplished? I think what it does is make it very difficult to get Democrats onto a good program, which is a reform that does not include a big tax increase."

Graham offered his proposal last fall in an effort to woo moderate Democrats, who he thought might join with President Bush to reform Social Security. But Graham's plan includes lifting the current $90,000 cap on payroll taxes--a plan conservatives, including the Club for Growth, have derided as a huge marginal tax increase. A Heritage Foundation analysis in February concluded that lifting the cap to $125,000 would increase taxes for 7 million middle-class families.

The ad pinpoints Graham as an obstacle to Bush's effort to add personal retirement accounts to Social Security. The 30-second spot declares: "There are good ideas . . . and there are bad ideas. President Bush wants to let workers save for retirement through Social Security personal accounts. Good idea. Sen. Lindsey Graham wants to include a huge tax hike. Really bad idea. Lindsey Graham's tax hike would hit millions of families, wipe out much of the Bush tax cut, and punish small businesses. Hey, Lindsey: You can't help someone save for retirement by raising their taxes."

Graham's office did not immediately respond to phone or e-mail messages from HUMAN EVENTS.

Conservatives have been troubled that the White House has not rejected Graham's plan outright. Bush has made ambiguous remarks regarding the payroll tax cap, suggesting he views it differently from the payroll tax rate, which stands at 12.4%. "The one thing I'm not open-minded about is raising the payroll tax rate. And all the other issues go on the table," Bush told reporters from six regional U.S. newspapers February 15.

When asked by HUMAN EVENTS about the White House's refusal to rule out lifting the payroll tax cap, Toomey redirected blame on congressional Republicans like Graham. "I think it's very important that we send a message that we don't want to see a bunch of Republicans coming on board and saying let's just raise taxes as a way to deal with this, and put the administration in a position where they have to decide whether to take it or leave it, that's the deal."

The advertising blitz against Graham is part of the second phase of a $10-million campaign launched by the Club for Growth in February. Ads are also being shown in the home states of Senators Ben Nelson (D.-Neb.) and Kent Conrad (D.-N.D.). Both Democrats hail from states where Bush won overwhelmingly in November.

Earlier this year, the Club for Growth targeted Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R.-R.I.) and Representatives Sherwood Boehlert (R.-N.Y.) and Joe Schwarz (R.-Mich.). The three have made public comments suggesting their reluctance to support personal accounts.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; US: South Carolina
KEYWORDS: graham; lindsey; lindseygraham; payroll; reform; socialsecurity; southcarolina; taxes; taxreform
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1 posted on 03/29/2005 12:49:00 PM PST by hinterlander
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To: hinterlander
A Republican senator promoting the idea of a payroll tax increase is under fierce attack by some conservatives.

He should be under attack by all conservatives...

2 posted on 03/29/2005 12:50:31 PM PST by frogjerk
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To: hinterlander

Let's pass Ryan/Sununu already!! Come on!!


3 posted on 03/29/2005 12:55:51 PM PST by TonyXL
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To: hinterlander

PALS

4 posted on 03/29/2005 12:56:44 PM PST by kingattax (If you're cross-eyed and dyslexic, can you read all right ?)
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To: hinterlander

Graham seemed to have a bright future in SC but he must have been masquerading as a conservative. He would be fine as a Maine Republican but he won't last long in SC now.


5 posted on 03/29/2005 12:59:52 PM PST by Arkie2
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To: hinterlander
SOCIALISM:
You have 2 cows. The State takes one and gives it to someone else.

COMMUNISM:
You have 2 cows. The State takes both and gives you milk.

FASCISM:
You have 2 cows. The State takes both and sells you the milk.

NAZISM:
You have 2 cows. The State takes both and shoots you.

BUREACRACY:
You have 2 cows. The State takes both, kills one and spills the milk in the sewage system.

CAPITALISM:
You have 2 cows. You sell one and buy a bull.

6 posted on 03/29/2005 1:00:33 PM PST by sure_fine (*not one to over kill the thought process*)
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To: hinterlander
Idiot Graham! Raise taxes to "fix" Social Security? Then what? Raise them again and again later? I hope this guy's ass gets bruised by the door next election.
7 posted on 03/29/2005 1:01:02 PM PST by Jaysun (I must warn you, I am a black belt in bullshitsu)
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To: hinterlander

If we have to have a social securiy system, then everyone who earns money has to pay for it. I don't think there should be any limit at the top end for payroll taxes. I think that everyone should pay the same proportion of payroll to the system. Otherwise, it is a regressive tax that hits disproportionately at the bottom of the income scale. Given that the marginal propensity to consume is higher at the bottom of the income scale, it would seem as if the top is somewhat insulated from taxation. Why is it that those who earn the least end up paying the most? I would rather see a flat rate imposed on every single dollar.


8 posted on 03/29/2005 1:03:17 PM PST by webheart (Pajamarazzi Rules!)
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To: webheart
I would rather see a flat rate imposed on every single dollar.

I take it, then, that you would also advocate that high-wage earners (i.e., those earning above the current "cap") be credited for the entirety of their annual wages when it comes to calculating their Social Security benefits?

9 posted on 03/29/2005 1:06:35 PM PST by DSH
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To: webheart

Why not cut the taxes for people at the low end and middle as a means to ensure that everyone "pays the same proportion?" If you are for a flat tax, why not support that alternative instead of feeding even more money to the tax eaters!? At the same time, we can cut benefits and phase out this ponzie scheme the honest way. Deal?


10 posted on 03/29/2005 1:08:06 PM PST by Austin Willard Wright
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To: hinterlander

"Sen. Lindsey Graham's proposal to lift the $90,000 cap on payroll taxes to pay for Social Security reform has prompted the conservative Club for Growth to blanket his home state of South Carolina with television ads accusing the first-term Republican of proposing a "huge tax hike" that would hurt families and small businesses."

Wow. The "Club for Growth" plays for keeps for their masters.


11 posted on 03/29/2005 1:08:49 PM PST by Shermy
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To: webheart

You said: "Why is it that those who earn the least end up paying the most?"

Flat out untrue!

The rich in America are an endangered species, being taxed out of existance by the tax and spend liberals.

We need to promote investment not punish it. Lay off the wealthy please. They are not the problem.


12 posted on 03/29/2005 1:09:49 PM PST by freedomfryer
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To: Shermy
Because lifting the cap is nothing but a scam. The politicians know SS is morally and financially bankrupt - yet their only "solutions" is to keep raising the cap, keep raising the retirement age, and cutting benefits.

No wonder the GOP is commonly referred to as "The Stupid Party."

13 posted on 03/29/2005 1:12:03 PM PST by 12 Gauge Mossberg (I Approved This Posting - Paid For By Mossberg, Inc.)
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To: TonyXL
Let's pass Ryan/Sununu already!! Come on!!

I'm with you. The only thing is, I'm not clear as to how much they'd allow to be paid out from the accounts once you retire.
14 posted on 03/29/2005 1:12:22 PM PST by Jaysun (I must warn you, I am a black belt in bullshitsu)
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To: Jaysun
The Human Events people did an interview with Rep. Ryan in which he further explained his ideas.

Rep. Ryan: Let's Totally Transform Social Security
15 posted on 03/29/2005 1:17:28 PM PST by hinterlander
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To: webheart
Doesn't matter what you want. The politicians are going to spend the money on pork-barrel projects and government programs anyway.
16 posted on 03/29/2005 1:17:42 PM PST by Extremely Extreme Extremist (Harmful Or Fatal If Swallowed)
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To: hinterlander

Obviously the solution is to double the tax on those making less than $90,000 because they are mostly Democrats.


17 posted on 03/29/2005 1:18:24 PM PST by ex-snook (Exporting jobs and the money to buy America is lose-lose..)
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To: webheart
You pay a percentage of your money into Social Security and are supposed to get that money back when you retire. If you pay more money into Social Security then you just get more money back. What does raising the cap do? Nothing, it is a zero gain gimmick.

On the other hand are you proposing wealth redistribution where you take more from the "wealthy" and give them less back than what they put in?
18 posted on 03/29/2005 1:21:21 PM PST by mikesmad
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To: webheart
Why should I pay more in if I have no chance of ever receiving my principal back, much less any earnings? Tellya what....just give me my money back and I'll opt out. Don't even pay me any earnings, just what I've put in. We'll call it even, mm'kay?

Or would you prefer..."From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs", hmm?

19 posted on 03/29/2005 1:21:59 PM PST by clintonh8r (Heteronormative and PROUD!!)
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To: hinterlander
I see. So at retirement they would want you to buy an annuity from your personal account that pays the minimum SS benefit, and whatever is left over belongs to you tax free. (also SS is off the hook for whatever they might have paid you). I like it. Even a 5% rate of return more than doubles the amount that SS would have for you. Thanks.
20 posted on 03/29/2005 1:23:17 PM PST by Jaysun (I must warn you, I am a black belt in bullshitsu)
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To: Shermy

Graham deserves what he's getting.


21 posted on 03/29/2005 1:24:26 PM PST by clintonh8r (Heteronormative and PROUD!!)
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To: Arkie2

Careful, I've been flamed for daring to suggest that Rick Santorum is a moderate in conservative clothing. Seems we have an outbreak of moderation from those who claim to be "real" conservatives.


22 posted on 03/29/2005 1:40:44 PM PST by Conservative Goddess (Veritas vos Liberabit, in Vino, Veritas....QED, Vino vos Liberabit)
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To: Shermy

I think I have to write a check to the club for growth.....if they stand on principle despite pressure, that should be rewarded. I would expect nothing less from Pat Toomey. He's a great American.


23 posted on 03/29/2005 1:42:48 PM PST by Conservative Goddess (Veritas vos Liberabit, in Vino, Veritas....QED, Vino vos Liberabit)
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To: clintonh8r

"Graham deserves what he's getting."

Why? Some Bushies have floated the same idea, and asked for ideas - all the while not forwarding a specific plan themselves.

The money in this game is the so-called "private" accounts which is what Club for Growth is getting paid to promote.

This move says Club for Growth will destroy dissenters if the socialist stock market scheme isn't chosen as the "cure."


24 posted on 03/29/2005 1:45:02 PM PST by Shermy
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To: Conservative Goddess

"Club for Growth" is not being pressured - they aren't victims.


25 posted on 03/29/2005 1:46:12 PM PST by Shermy
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To: mikesmad
You pay a percentage of your money into Social Security and are supposed to get that money back when you retire. If you pay more money into Social Security then you just get more money back. What does raising the cap do? Nothing, it is a zero gain gimmick.

That's not altogether accurate. Under current law, the Social Security benefits a person receives are based not on how much the person paid in Social Security payroll taxes during his working life, but instead are derived from a fairly complicated formula that takes into account the worker's 35 highest-earning years. Those 35 years of wages are "indexed" to reflect wage growth, totaled, divided by 35, and then divided again by 12 to produce a monthly figure called the Average Indexed Monthly Earnings (AIME).

To the worker's AIME, a formula is then applied to derive what is known as the Primary Insurance Amount (PIA). It is here that "progressivity" is introduced into the benefits calculation. The basic principle underlying the determination of a person's monthly Social Security benefits is that those benefits should "replace" a certain percentage (much less than 100% surely) of the person's average lifetime monthly wage. The thing is, the formula used to calculate a person's PIA applies three different rates to portions of the person's AIME. In 2003, for example, the PIA formula credited a worker with 90% of the first $606 of his AIME, 32% of his AIME over $606 through $3,653, and only 15% of his AIME over $3,653.

The purpose of this PIA formula is to ensure that Social Security benefits are "progressive," with the basic target being that a lifetime "low wage earner" will have approximately 56% of his AIME replaced by Social Security benefits, while the "average" earner and the "high wage" earners will have 42% and 35% of their AIME "replaced" by their monthly Social Security benefits, respectively.

There is, of course, another way in which the method used to calculate Social Security benefits is "progessive," and it is here that the Social Security wage cap becomes relevant. A person making, say, $250,000 in 2005 will only pay payroll taxes on $90,000 of that wage. When the time comes to calculate that person's AIME, he will only be assumed to have earned $90,000 in 2005 as well.

So, whether or not the Social Security wage cap is "fair" really depends on one's perspective. Since the cap artificially limits the annual wage a person is deemed to have made in a given year for purposes of determining that person's Social Security benefits (which determination is already highly "progressive" based on the PIA formula noted above), why isn't it "fair" that that person only have to pay payroll taxes on the "capped" amount of his wages? It's all in how you look at it, I guess.

26 posted on 03/29/2005 1:52:12 PM PST by DSH
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To: Arkie2

Sen Grahm will be senator of SC for as long as he wants. As long as he is conservative on social issues, he wont be challanged. As for Club for Growth, they had a horrible record in the GOP primaries last year, and their only success in any of the primaries last year was Sen. Coburns victory in the Oklahoma primary, and even then Sen. Coburn got most of his support from social conservatives.


27 posted on 03/29/2005 1:54:11 PM PST by RFT1
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To: RFT1

Here's Graham's proposals. See if they warrant such an awful attack dog campaign by Club for Growth:

http://www.thestate.com/mld/thestate/11254589.htm

GRAHAM’S IDEA

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., would offer workers younger than 55 three options:

• Private retirement accounts funded by 4 percent of payroll taxes, up to $1,300 annually. Benefits reduced according to the value of the private account, and benefits indexed to inflation, not wages. Workers with 35 years guaranteed a minimum benefit of 120 percent of poverty.

• No private retirement accounts. Benefits would be indexed to inflation, not wages. Workers with 35 years would be guaranteed a minimum benefit of 120 percent of poverty.

• No private retirement accounts and no cut in benefits. Workers would pay an additional 2 percent payroll tax, which would continue to increase over time as needed.

• Although not part of his plan, Graham also has suggested raising the level of taxable income from $90,000 to $150,000 to cover transition costs.


28 posted on 03/29/2005 1:59:33 PM PST by Shermy
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To: Jaysun

bingo -- and you're welcome


29 posted on 03/29/2005 1:59:54 PM PST by hinterlander
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To: mikesmad
You pay a percentage of your money into Social Security and are supposed to get that money back when you retire. If you pay more money into Social Security then you just get more money back. What does raising the cap do? Nothing, it is a zero gain gimmick.

I wish you were right. Fact is, those of us in our mid-40's have been paying in for twenty years or more at rates far higher than those collecting benefits today. We won't be allowed to participate in the individual savings accounts, the President only promised those 55 and over won't see reductions (so we'll get a haircut), AND we'll see the cap raised during our peak earning years while we are paying for our kids' college tuition. Zero Gain? Try LOSS on every front -- more taxes, less benefits, no savings accounts. Plus we'll have to pay income tax on a return of principal.

This is just for starters. Medicare will be far worse. There just won't be enough resources to keep all of us boomers alive inot our eighties and nineties. I fully expect to be some Gen Xer's grandkid's Soylent Green taco in about forty years.

30 posted on 03/29/2005 2:00:52 PM PST by You Dirty Rats (Mindless BushBot)
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To: Shermy

Trust me, I have no respect what so ever for the Club for Growth, or any of the WSJ wing of the GOP.


31 posted on 03/29/2005 2:03:53 PM PST by RFT1
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To: Shermy
Wow. The "Club for Growth" plays for keeps for their masters.

They better, I'm a member of CFG, and we will punish Graham and make him miserable for this.

32 posted on 03/29/2005 2:06:45 PM PST by Sonny M ("oderint dum metuant")
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To: Shermy
This move says Club for Growth will destroy dissenters if the socialist stock market scheme isn't chosen as the "cure."

The stock market is socialist?

If any rino dissents, they deserve what they get, no matter the cost, Rino's like Graham need to be brought back in line, and the CFG is just the guys to do it.

33 posted on 03/29/2005 2:09:05 PM PST by Sonny M ("oderint dum metuant")
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To: RFT1

Good to know you!

Here's a local article:

http://www.thestate.com/mld/thestate/news/politics/11254586.htm

"the Washington-based sponsor of the ad — says the idea conflicts with conservative ideals of lower taxes and smaller government."

So, they argue for not cutting taxes at all but shuttling the money into the stock market exponentially increasing government control of the economy? Hardly conservative.


34 posted on 03/29/2005 2:10:17 PM PST by Shermy
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To: Sonny M

"The stock market is socialist?"

Well, maybe not completely. But how much of the stock market will the govt. control under this plan? 20%? 30%? Who controls the chosen stocks? Are overseas stocks forbidden?

Every account idea i've seen is not "private" but government managed. If they want private accounts they'd give us our money back for us to invest.


35 posted on 03/29/2005 2:13:53 PM PST by Shermy
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To: DSH

You can bet the cap for benes will stay, while the cap for taxes will be raised.

Or another benefit will apply.


36 posted on 03/29/2005 2:20:38 PM PST by fooman (Get real with Kim Jung Mentally Ill about proliferation)
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To: DSH
Yes I know. Just trying to get the poster to admit that they were proposing that we make SS even more "progressive". That is what the liberals are really pushing for. Tax the rich more, eliminate the payroll tax on the poor, but let the poor not only continue to collect SS but give them even more of the money because they really need it versus the rich.

The only viable plan is to phase out SS as we know it. I would phase it out completely and just let everyone be responsible for either saving or not, but the best we can hope for is "required" savings that are not government controlled.
37 posted on 03/29/2005 2:40:20 PM PST by mikesmad
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To: You Dirty Rats

I am in my mid 40's also and I agree we will probably be the age group that get's screwed. I would prefer that we have the opportunity to opt out now and start saving or not as we see fit.


38 posted on 03/29/2005 2:43:24 PM PST by mikesmad
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To: Shermy
So in other words Graham wants the sheeple to remain tethered to Socialist Security, while he and his buddies in the Senate, along with hypocritical Dems, get golden parachutes.

Yeah, that seems like a fair idea.

39 posted on 03/29/2005 2:43:42 PM PST by ServesURight
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To: Shermy
Every account idea i've seen is not "private" but government managed. If they want private accounts they'd give us our money back for us to invest.

The way its being phrased, by everyone involved is incrementalism.

Starts out with funds (which would include overseas stocks, how couldn't they, do you realize how many international or multinational corps come and go?) and bonds, and several different financial tools, individual stocks (ala 401 K plans) are not in any current model, at least directly. So basically, you can't directly invest in a company, but you can indirectly, to minimize risk, but as clear as it day, over time, that would change, and that is still sure as hell better then what we have now.

Banking tools are starting to work their way in, and might be the ticket to getting this done the right way.

40 posted on 03/29/2005 3:06:18 PM PST by Sonny M ("oderint dum metuant")
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To: Shermy

A Republican shouldn't be promoting a de facto tax increase in order to sustain what is essentially a socialist program.


41 posted on 03/29/2005 3:43:11 PM PST by clintonh8r (Heteronormative and PROUD!!)
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To: Shermy
Here's Graham's proposals. See if they warrant such an awful attack dog campaign by Club for Growth
________________________

Graham's proposals are more about continued government control over our money and additional tax increases than they are about personal control of our money. Even though he offers one option that seems to mirror Bush's proposal it's hard to tell what the specifics are from the linked article. More specifics would be helpful.

The Club for Growth and other Conservatives are upset with him mostly because of his support for lifting the cap from $90,000. Social Security has morphed from a safety net into the biggest Ponzi scheme in our economy and his advocacy of additional taxes to perpetuate this mess should earn him the scorn of all Conservatives.

I am for anything that wrests control of our money from the government and reduces the percentage of our economy managed by the government. The stock market has returned an average of about 6.6%, adjusted for inflation, since 1900 while Social Security has returned less than 2% since its inception. There should be no argument over the viability of personal accounts - at least not from Conservatives.

The Club for Growth made no misleading statements in their criticism of Graham. Whether they will have any impact remains to be seen.
42 posted on 03/29/2005 4:19:12 PM PST by Mase
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To: kingattax

I thought Graham was friends with Hillary.


43 posted on 03/29/2005 4:21:30 PM PST by ncpatriot
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To: ncpatriot

he can only have one friend ?


44 posted on 03/29/2005 4:28:36 PM PST by kingattax (If you're cross-eyed and dyslexic, can you read all right ?)
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To: Shermy
Well, maybe not completely. But how much of the stock market will the govt. control under this plan? 20%? 30%? Who controls the chosen stocks? Are overseas stocks forbidden?
_________________

Under Bush's plan I control my investments, not the government. I believe the plan being talked about gives people 3 or 4 choices offering varying mixes of stocks and bonds. I also read where people would be allowed to make changes to their allocations once a year.

I only have 5 choices with my 401K. Of course, the current SS system gives me no choices and if I die before I reach the govt. sanctioned retirement age I get nothing and my heirs get nothing.

Private accounts as you suggest (just give us our money back) would never be politically palatable which is truly unfortunate. Look at the accrued value of 12.4% of your SS taxable income over your working lifetime, growing at 5-6% per year, and you'll get sick.
45 posted on 03/29/2005 4:35:59 PM PST by Mase
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To: hinterlander

US Sen Lindsey Graham (RINO-SC). 'Nuff said, IMO. Dump the lowlife.


46 posted on 03/29/2005 4:55:28 PM PST by 7.62 x 51mm ( Veni Vidi Vino Visa "I came, I saw, I drank wine, I shopped")
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To: hinterlander

South Carolina? You sure he's not from Vermont?


47 posted on 03/29/2005 5:01:53 PM PST by Rocky
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To: hinterlander

Lets donate him to the democrats.


48 posted on 03/29/2005 6:30:20 PM PST by festus (The constitution may be flawed but its a whole lot better than what we have now.)
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To: hinterlander; 2A Patriot; 2nd amendment mama; 4everontheRight; 77Jimmy; Abbeville Conservative; ...

South Carolina Ping

Add me to the ping list. Remove me from the ping list.

49 posted on 03/30/2005 4:58:16 AM PST by SC Swamp Fox (Aim small, miss small.)
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To: Shermy

A vested property right in the accounts is a start, even if we are restricted to investing in government bonds. At least we'd have a claim to the underlying assets. I would prefer complete and total privatization, including privately managed accounts similar to IRA's....with a concommitant starving of the Social Security beast, but that will take time. I really think the unstated objective of GWB's private accounts is to do just that, wean the Gen Xer's from SS by allowing them to invest. The fact that his proposed framework did nothing to deal with the 'solvency issue' should tell you that his plan is for SS to naturally wither and die over the course of several years....and that's a good thing.

Let's take what we can get, and when the gen xer's see the difference in returns, SS will be relegated to the dustbin of history.


50 posted on 03/30/2005 7:10:04 AM PST by Conservative Goddess (Veritas vos Liberabit, in Vino, Veritas....QED, Vino vos Liberabit)
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