There’s trouble for the White House on Social Security reform, particularly with editorials such as the one below questioning the White House position on this issue. Pressure is mounting to drop their insistence on reform addressing solvency. So far, they haven’t signaled that they will:
To GROW the Majority, by Jack Kemp, Copley News Service: A couple of weeks ago, I pointed out that President Bush has a golden opportunity right after Labor Day to advance the ownership society by repealing the death tax and giving working men and women the opportunity to own personal retirement accounts, which would both get a better rate of return and be inheritable by their families. The administration's general position on both issues is well known - it supports both - but where it stands on the legislative strategy remains a mystery. That's a real challenge but a great opportunity. It is particularly challenging where Social Security is concerned because the president's advisers have insisted that any personal-accounts bill also must guarantee permanent solvency, a simple political impossibility this year. If the president hopes for a legislative success on Social Security, it is essential for him to clear up the mystery. Now is the time to go on record enthusiastically in favor of making a down payment on solvency by stopping the raid on Social Security and devoting payroll tax surpluses to starting personal retirement accounts, an idea being promoted by the Leadership and Ways and Means Committee members in the House and introduced by Jim DeMint, R-S.C., in the Senate…
And there’s also this:
A revamp for Social Security plan, by Tami Luhby, Newsday.com: In what would be a stinging defeat for President George W. Bush, the House of Representatives will likely cast aside the administration's Social Security proposal, according to experts from two think tanks close to the debate. Instead, the House Ways and Means Committee appears set in the coming weeks to offer a plan putting only surplus Social Security revenues in private accounts, they said. Such a bill would not make the system solvent longterm nor allow workers to contribute to private accounts - two pillars of Bush's plan. It also lacks Democratic support. A Ways and Means spokeswoman said only that chairman Bill Thomas (R-Calif.) is still formulating his plan. Taking the lead in forming Social Security legislation in Congress, the committee is looking at the watered-down proposal because of stiff Democratic opposition and a lack of unity among Republicans about Bush's plan, said Michael Tanner, the Social Security expert at the right-leaning Cato Institute. … Bush wants to allow workers to put part of their payroll taxes into private accounts and, to make the system solvent, cut benefits to future retirees. But he has failed to rally many Americans to his cause.
Asked about the surplus-funded accounts, Bush spokesman Trent Duffy said they "do some very good things." He also, however, noted Bush's goals, which include solvency…
For further discussion on the merits of the proposal Kemp, Tanner, and others are promoting, see Another Social Security proposal I don't like, But I Can't Follow the Money, Breaking Down S.1302: Private Accounts with No Solvency On Top, We'll Need DeMint to Pay for This Proposal, and Concerns about the latest Social Security proposal.
[Update: Here's a better link to the Kemp editorial - no registration required.]