Remember when Social Security went bust in '88?


Jeff Horwitz
January 27, 2005 12:54AM (UTC)

Over at Talking Points Memo, Josh Marshall takes us back to 1978, when future president George W. Bush tried (and failed) to convert his family name into a seat in the House of Representatives.

From a 1999 Texas Observer Article:

"According to Gary Ott, who was then a reporter for the Plainview Daily Herald, Bush stopped by the paper's little office 'maybe five or six times [during Bush's 1978 congressional run]. He'd sit down at my desk; he was a fun guy. He was very outgoing, very friendly, and we would argue politics since I was a liberal. We'd argue over Carter policies.' Bush criticized energy policy, federal land use policy, subsidized housing, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration ('a misuse of power,' he said), and he warned that Social Security would go bust in ten years unless people were given a chance to invest the money themselves."

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As it turned out, the president's math was a little fuzzy. In the 1980's, Congress tackled the problem, approving a two-percentage point increase in Social Security taxes that guaranteed the program's solvency for decades. But now that Bush is proclaiming the second coming of the Social Security "crisis" (looming over us as soon as 2042), simply raising taxes to cover any baby-boomer shortfall isn't on the table.


Jeff Horwitz

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