Seems now most agree the Bush Administration did — or at least tried to do — something right. Their attempt in 2005 to reform “the third rail of American politics” left them bruised and battered and was quickly engulfed by Hurricane Katrina. But Tuesday’s release of Social Security’s balance sheet has it on the front burner once more. MFS Chairman Bob Pozen, who despite being a Democrat worked on Bush’s proposal, said it’s a second term issue for any president because of the inherent re-election risks. I’m not so sure. Insolvency dates are fast approaching, aided by the current crisis. From U.S. News & World Report:
“Social Security and Medicare’s annual checkup revealed that the recession and longer life expectancies are taxing the health of the entitlement system. The Social Security Board of Trustees report found that program costs will exceed tax revenues in 2016, a year sooner than predicted in last year’s report. The trust fund will be exhausted in 2037, four years sooner than the 2008 estimate.”
Karl Rove said he had Democratic Party leaders in his office and they agreed the plan put forth would solve the funding problem, but there was no way they were going to give Bush the win — especially on a pillar (the pillar?) of the New Deal. So much for bipartisanship. And the problem, as we saw Tuesday, only grows worse.