Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Social Security

One of the great mysteries of life to me is how in the world did Jeff Sessions become a powerful member of the republican Senate. so you can imagine the groan I let out when I saw that he had an Op-Ed in today's Washington Post about Social Security. I thought to myself, "Oh God, what is this huckleberry going to propose?"

Much to my surprise, it's is actually a pretty good plan which doesn't affect the current Social Security program, and instead adds an additional savings plan. From the Washington Post:

Under legislation I will be introducing in the next Congress, an individual personal retirement account -- called a PLUS Account (for Portable, Lifelong Universal Savings Accounts) -- would be established for every American at birth and would be endowed with a $1,000 contribution from the federal government. This money could be placed in a limited number of investment funds similar to those offered by the TSP program, with the parents of each newborn choosing their preferred funds. Parents and grandparents also would be allowed to contribute up to $5,000 annually to these accounts. Without any additional contributions, and given a reasonable rate of return, the initial $1,000 endowment would be worth $50,000 to $100,000 when each individual reached age 65.

But the real impact of PLUS accounts would be that, beginning in 2009, 1 percent of every worker's paycheck would be automatically deposited into his own account for the first $100,000 earned annually, with his employer required to match this 1 percent contribution. Worker contributions would be made pretax while employer contributions would be tax-deductible. Both workers and their employers would have the option of contributing more.

Funds contributed to PLUS accounts would be the legal property of each account holder, but they could not be touched until age 65. Any funds remaining when an individual died could be passed on to a spouse, children, grandchildren or anyone of the holder's choosing (including a favorite charity). Account assets would be protected from creditors and would not be considered in determining eligibility for any federally funded benefits or in calculating estate tax liability. Finally, my plan would simply serve as a supplement to the Social Security system, not altering the program in any way.

The devil is, of course, in the details and I'm not really sure that this couldn't simply be accomplished by a few alterations in the regulations concerning IRAs but it is good to see that some republicans have at least learned an important lesson about Social Security. It isn't broken, stop trying to fix it.


JD said...


Check your Gmail account.


Anonymous said...


Let he who is without sin throw the first "Huckleberry" charge: please check your spelling of "effect" in the second paragraph!

Phlip said...

Ha. Yea, spellcheck doesn't fix that. Maybe if I actually read these before I posted them, I'd catch that stuff.