Wednesday, March 30, 2005
Social Security Privatization via Executive Order?
Via Talking Point Memo, CNN's Carlos Watson writes:
[...] if President Bush ultimately fails to persuade Congress (especially centrist Senators) to back his private account plan, he may sign an executive order for a smaller version of his plan, such as allowing federal employees to experiment with a heavily regulated form of private accounts.Federal employees. These are the people, numbering in the millions, that make all branches of the government operate from top to bottom. And these are the same people that have been abused and belittled by conservatives for decades.
He'd rather enact a broad national plan, passed by Congress and signed by him. But if he cannot get Congressional passage of an overall Social Security change plan (or even just the private account portion), President Bush just may use the executive order route to ensure that a test version is put into effect.
And while President Clinton was sometimes criticized for his bold use of executive orders, he had to be at least somewhat politically cautious because of the risk that Congress or the courts might overturn him. President Bush has less risk in that regard because of Republican dominance in both arenas. And thus, he may indeed be more aggressive in using the executive order to implement private accounts if his legislative efforts fail.
If Bush "privatizes" Social Security (introduces a large element of risk in their future income) I predict a serious hit in everything conservative - opinion polls, elections, support for their various "non-profit" tax-free organizations, marketing circus charlatans, and their various media mouthpieces.