Paul Krugman, that paragon of objectivity, in the NYT Op-Ed:
Here’s how it would work. First, workers with private accounts would be subject to a “clawback”: in effect, they would have to mortgage their future benefits in order to put money into their accounts.
Second, since private accounts would do nothing to improve Social Security’s finances – something the administration has finally admitted – there would be large benefit cuts in addition to the clawback. [emphasis mine]
Except, that, um,
There is no ‘clawback’.
Last week, after the State of the Union Address, a story in the WaPo noted the ‘clawback’ in Bush’s plan, and I bookmarked it to follow up. Before I could, I received a Daily Debunker email noting that there really wasn’t a ‘clawback’. Not sure what to think, I shelved it until I could research it a bit more.
That evening when I got home from work there was another Daily Debunker email noting that the WaPo had posted a correction to their story, clarifying that there was not any ‘clawback’ in the administration’s Social Security proposal.
Now, I haven’t read the proposal, so maybe Krugman is right and there is a ‘clawback’. It sure sounds pretty scary, so that also adds credibility to the claim. But why would the WaPo post a correction claiming clearly that there is no ‘clawback’ less than 24 hours after a prominent story claimed there was if it really exists? Remember, it’s not the Washington Times, it’s the Post.
And Krugman, who I’ve often said is a good economist and a bad political writer, doesn’t seem to understand that the whole ‘clawback’ threat is bogus. Maybe he’s not that great of an economist, either? He’s either misinformed or lying, it appears.
He hits on something though, and lets the cat out of the bag:
The attempt to “jab a spear” through Social Security complements the strategy of “starve the beast,” long advocated by right-wing intellectuals: cut taxes, then use the resulting deficits as an excuse for cuts in social spending.
Except that that particular cat has long since been let out. It’s no secret, Mr. Krugman. This ‘beast’ needs a serious diet and everyone knows it.
But there’s apparently no clawback.