Friday, April 15, 2005

 

AP gets part of it right

Associated Press reporter Jennifer Loven sounds a little too optimistic to us when she writes:
The White House signaled Friday it may compromise on how private retirement accounts would be created as part of a Social Security overhaul. President Bush kept pushing for major changes.
This smells like the same sucker-bait the Bush administration has been dangling for some time. Loven builds her shaky case this way:
"We're certainly willing to discuss it," said Allan Hubbard, head of the National Economic Council, who spoke at a breakfast meeting with reporters and was quoted by USA Today.

Democrats have adamantly opposed Bush's plan, in which younger workers would be allowed to divert some of their Social Security tax contributions into private accounts invested in stocks and bonds, noting it would result in a cut in guaranteed benefits. Democrats have said they would be much more inclined to embrace private accounts if they did not require the payroll tax diversion and would be an add-on to the traditional government benefit check rather than a partial replacement.

McClellan portrayed the private accounts as an idea the president has floated, and he contrasted that with many Democrats' opposition.

"Unfortunately, we have too many Democratic leaders who are simply saying what they're against and ruling things out," he said.
Well, yeah, they have. Like refusing to consider changes that will weaken Social Security. What's the White House willing to rule out? In fact, their will be no movement until the White House agrees to put some boundaries in writing. In the absence of this, we don't give Loven's take on the situation much credence.

On the other hand, Loven got one thing right that some of her journalistic brethren haven't:
Bush has not yet offered his ideas for addressing Social Security's future insolvency and has acknowledged that private accounts would not solve that problem.
Too bad she didn't use that for her lede.

[UPDATE] We hope Loven didn't mistake this for compromise.

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