Focus Point - Al Gore's Social Security Plan

Commentary by Pete du Pont

I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis.

Al gore, after calling George W. Bush's Social Security Partial Privatization Plan "risky" -- the same thing he calls all bush proposals -- has offered his own plan.

First, he'd add to the Social Security's obligations by offering an earnings credit to eight million women who leave the workforce to raise children, and increasing widows' benefits. But the system's going broke in 2015 even without increases. So what's Gore's plan for the shortfall? Well, he'd use current Social Security surpluses to pay down the national debt. Lower debt means lower interest payments. He'd then put the savings back into Social Security.

But the Social Security "surpluses" are just IOUs, not real money. So Gore's merely adding more IOUs, gambling that the money saved in interest will be available to pay the IOUs -- assuming Congress doesn't spend it. Yet even if he's right, he only fends off deficit day at Social Security for six years. After that, either benefits get cut or taxes get raised. And Gore says Bush's plan is risky?

Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont. Next time, corporate welfare.