This morning's Washington Post has a front page, above the fold story by Perry Bacon, Jr. on "Candidates Diverge on How to Save Social Security." The story does briefly quote Dean Baker to the effect that it does not need "saving" now, a view I hold along with Bruce Webb and others on the basis that reality has more closely tracked the low cost projection under which there are never even any deficits, in comparison to the MSM blared intermediate cost projection under which they appear in 2017, with "bankruptcy" in 2041. The storyline hews to this, quoting unnamed "experts" to criticize Obama for "only covering half the cost of the 75 year shortfall." As it is, Obama is sticking with his primary season proposal, to charge social security taxes on those making more than $250,000 per year, otherwise no changes, no benefit cuts, no privatization. McCain is for some muddled version of Bush's muddled plan: raise the retirement age, cut future benefits, "allow" young people to transfer their taxes into private accounts, but no tax increases.
While I support no change, Obama's plan is the least damaging of any put forth by any of the candidates during the primary season. McCain's plan is a route to destroying social security as his allowing of private accounts with no tax increases will certainly bring on a fiscal crisis for the system, which will probably not happen at all if it is just left alone. We already have the voluntary tax-incentivized IRAs and so forth, but the privatizers want a mandatory private accounts system for their Wall Street buddies to manage. I say, if we insist on having mandatory private accounts, then do it as the Swedes do, a separate add-on system to social security, supported by its own set of new taxes, which is certainly not what McCain is proposing.