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Baucus not for privatization

Baucus speaks out against Bush Social Security plan

WASHINGTON — One reason for a presidential trip to Montana next week could be to turn the heat up under the state’s Democratic senator, Max Baucus, to support a plan to restructure Social Security, political pundits say.

However, during a visit to Helena on Thursday, Baucus said he is ple-ased that the president will stop in Montana but it will make no difference in his attitude about the plan.

“Not at all,” Baucus told The Associated Press when asked if the visit will do Bush any good.

“I’ve been around for a good number of years. Pressure doesn’t mean anything. The question is what’s right. I look at the facts; I call it as I see it — what makes sense for Montana seniors. That’s my job.”

Also, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid picked Baucus to be the Democrats’ lead negotiator on Social Security.

Baucus has been voicing his displeasure with the plan. He is concerned about the estimated $2 trillion cost of partially privatizing Social Security and fears the president’s plan will reduce benefits to future retirees.

Contrary to what the president has said, Social Security is not in crisis but rather faces long-range challenges that need to be addressed, Baucus said.

He’s especially displeased by an idea the White House floated — although it has not yet put in writing — to calculate benefits using a formula based on the rate of inflation instead of the rate of wage increases, which is now used. Since wages historically have exceeded inflation by 1 percent a year, benefits for retirees 50 years from now could, theoretically, be 50 percent lower than they would be under the current formula, according to the AARP retirees group.

“That’s a huge reduction in benefits, recognizing that two-thirds of all Americans depend on their Social Security benefits as their primary source of retirement income and one-fifth depend on it as their only source,” Baucus told Gannett News Service. “That 40 to 50 percent cut would be devastating.”

It’s not very likely that Baucus will back down from his opposition to partially privatizing Social Security, especially now that Reid made him the Democrats’ point man on the issue, said Tom Mann, a scholar at the Washington-based Brookings Institution, a liberal think tank.

Good. We know Rehberg isn’t particular enthusiastic about the plan, so we just have to see what Burns thinks.

Categories: Domestic Policy, Montana
  1. January 29, 2005 at 12:57 am

    Burns? Think? You do have high expectations, don’t you?

  2. maged taman
    February 21, 2005 at 8:32 am

    Americans’ Future In One Plan
    I know that most of you are busy to read my book. As I explained previously that Taman Health Plan (www.trafford.com) takes care of all the health care, Medicare, Medicaid and social security. It will threw away all bureaucracies out of window. Let me explain shortly how it works:
    1- there will be no more health care insurance companies, no Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security. My plan will take care of all.
    2- Basically will be only one Big Health care organization (Taman Health Plan or THP).
    3- The center of the plan will be in Washington while the health departments in every state will be the branches.
    4- One organized body will be taking care of the Health Care and long term care of all Americans replacing 1500 insurance companies, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
    5- This will allow us to provide a uniform service to all Americans every where in both inpatients, outpatients and long term care.
    6- When you go to any Duncan Donuts branch your expectation is to have a fresh coffee and a donut with no long wait. We will try to provide a similar predictable service everywhere as Duncan Donuts. With having only one body will be able to do that.
    7- The Capital of the plan will be the funds of Medicare and Social Security (before the bankruptcy of both systems). The maintenance will be a yearly tax from each of us (will replace our yearly social security and Medicare holding taxes). A percent of each of us go to his account cards and a percent go to THP itself. The money of the plan will be invested by the investing sector of the plan very likely in Wall Street.
    8- We will have 5 ATM cards with a corresponding accounts. Card A (children), Card B (working group 18-65years old), Card C (Medicare card >65 years old), Card D (Medicaid card), Card E ( expensive medicines or investigations).We will have the health cards devoted to health care and long term care. Thus we will have: health cards, banks with accounts to each card and credit card machines in outpatients care and hotelling part of hospitals and nursing homes.
    9- Cards will pay for the outpatient medical care including doctors, emergency room visits, investigations, medical supplies, pharmacies and the hotelling part of hospitals and nursing homes. While the medical part of hospitals and nursing homes will be budget by the plan itself.
    10- In the first year of issuing cards: Card B and C (most of people) will have a bonus it could be a percent of their Medicare and social security withholding (70 % or so). We will try to be fair to every one but every one has to now that most of us already lost a lot of money with the HMO’s. For next year new comers to card B at age of 18 when first issued will have a bonus of 50,000 dollars. It will change every year by a percent a according to inflation.
    11- every one of us will get a statement every one or two months of his card account. Card B account will phase in card C at the age of 65. If card C account is vanished Card D will be issued (hoteling part will be less luxurious). Only few of Card B will have card D if there account vanish most likely those with severe medical problems.
    12- So basically most of us will have our own account Card B then card C. Say you are 45 and you have now in your account $ 200,000 you can take one or more years out of work, you Can retire early if you like and with your card you will control all the medical services and its prices.
    13- With this card system we will end all bureaucracies of health care, Medicare and Medicaid. No one will stand between you and any medical or long term service (only your card). Shop around with you card, have early health care security and responsibility and invest in your health.
    14- We will not need Social Security since after age of 65 we will be able to use our cards to stay in any nursing home each according to his account in card C or card D. So when you invest well in your health you will be able to enjoy a nicer nursing home when you get old (actually it will be also a kind of tourism).
    15- The money in cards do not get inherited when we pass away but recycle in the plan to support the next generations.
    16- The plan will have very positive effects not only in simplifying our care, save a lot of waste in health care, give early health care security and responsibility to Americans it will also have a positive effect on the economy, saving billions of dollars to Americans, creating jobs in health care and cutting outsourcing.
    Very likely, you figure it by now I could have sold the plan to one of the presidential candidate before the 2004 election for millions of dollars (they already spent 2 billion dollars). It is my gift to the American people (it will help the healing process of the two worlds America and the Muslim/Arabs).

    Maged Taman.

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