Its current goal is to phase out Social Security by — ultimately — replacing it with private stock market accounts. The justification, or rationalization, is that Social Security funds may run short in the future.
Since no one is buying the idea that privatizing Social Security is necessary or justified, the White House and some Republicans are casting around for new ways to sell it. Here’s the latest, courtesy of today’s New York Times:
Influential Republicans offered a sketchy proposal on Wednesday that would use the cash surplus the Social Security system is running nowadays to finance private investment accounts, in an effort to neutralize the political opposition to a fundamental change in the system.
Republicans said they hoped the plan would keep the idea of personal accounts alive, allay the fears of the public that the Social Security surplus is being spent elsewhere, and put further pressure on Democrats to engage in the legislative debate over Social Security.
They want to take a Social Security surplus and deplete it to solve a problem that otherwise might never arise by creating accounts that will kill the program they say they’re trying to save.