Sunday, April 17, 2005

Sounds Like KY Budget "Negotiations"

We've made reference on this site to similarities between structural problems in Social Security and the KAPT scandal. The politics of Social Security reform, meanwhile, seems to mirror that of Kentucky's budget negotiations of the last two sessions in the General Assembly.
Just as Washington D.C. Democrats continue to insist either that there is no problem with Social Security or that it is so frail that it will not survive reform efforts, Frankfort House Democrats last year repeatedly refused to meet Republicans to discuss Kentucky's budget.

Just as the media last year failed to report on House Speaker Jody Richards' refusal to meet with Republicans to negotiate on the budget, journalists have blatantly manipulated the debate on Social Security reform. The latest example of this is noteworthy.

The Los Angeles Times yesterday reported on a Social Security opt out program in Ohio that has "attracted few takers" stating that the "popularity of the private accounts" has been "relatively low." (Note that the words in quotes above were words of LA Times reporters and were not attributed to anyone else.)

This dim view of a program that allowed individuals to opt out of Social Security for a private plan was striking. I had never heard of Ohio's plan, but every other plan I had heard of was both popular and successful. So I did a little research.

Bottom line: What was the participation level among eligible employees for Ohio's version of private Social Security accounts?

Ninety seven percent.

While Kentucky voters are asking themselves why they had to wait a year for Democrats to come to the table on the budget, national voters may soon be wondering why Congressional Democrats fiddled so long while Social Security crumbled.