Everyone loves Bush
The more I read the transcript from this Bush event, the more I think it’s a good example of Bush’s oft-criticized tendency to set up events where the participants lob the president softballs. Consider this selection of “questions” from audience members about Bush’s suggestion that people be able to divert some of their payroll taxes to private accounts:
- MRS. CEGLINSKI: Okay. (Laughter.) I have five children, seven grandchildren, and that’s my concern. I think you, making the young people aware that there’s a problem, is going to make them aware and encourage them to save. And I think that’s what we need to do. [...] I’m getting my check, and it’s wonderful.
- MRS. BROWN: [...] I will never be able to build a good retirement in the amount of time I have until I retire. So it’s very appealing, the plans that you’re talking about, because I’ll be quite dependent on Social Security.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, set aside a little money, watch it grow at a better rate than the current Social Security system.
MRS. BROWN: Exactly, so that — certainly, for Jeremy and for my other three sons, as you said, it would make me happy to know that they’re taken care of, too, and that they would have options.
- MR. BROWN: Well, being the younger generation, I’m just starting to pay into the system. I like the idea of having these personal accounts, getting a better rate of return in the end, and compound interest and everything so I build up something for myself that I could leave for my future kids and everything. And I like the fact that I’ll have something to show for it, because people go and pay decades and decades into Social Security and when it comes time for me to retire, if we don’t change, I’ll have nothing to show for it.
- MS. RILEY WEITZEL: [...] We’re really excited about your plan, and that we can set up personal accounts and then watch compound interest grow, and hopefully get a nest egg and be able to hand that down to our kids.
- MS. McKENNA WEITZEL: Yes, definitely. I feel like there’s definitely a problem in the system right now and things need to change. And I want to say that it’s completely commendable of you to stand up and tackle this issue. [...] I feel like being able to take more ownership over your future and over your investments is very wise.
These are the kind of tough “questions” that need to be asked. Good work, panelists!