Monday, April 9, 2007

So, You Don’t Believe in Social Security? Great, you’re hired!

Andrew Biggs has certainly had his 15 minutes of fame (infamy?) this week as one of three indescribably bad recess appointments made by the President during the week-long Easter Congressional recess. It’s hard to know where to start with this one. So, let’s just start at the beginning.

Andrew Biggs has built a career pushing political strategies to destroy Social Security. However, contrary to much of the press coverage, the Senate considered him a bad nominee not JUST because he supported private accounts. The problem is Biggs doesn’t believe Social Security should exist. His views aren’t even complicated or nuanced. Here is one of his policy papers in which he lays out a political plan to destroy all New Deal programs, including Social Security:

"Indeed, market investment of payroll taxes sets the stage for a broader rapprochement between labor and capital and a new political culture that rejects government intervention in favor of individual and market freedom. In that way, Social Security reform featuring Personal Retirement Accounts doesn't send just one liberal sacred cow to the slaughterhouse. It sends the whole herd"

The SSAConnect blog provides an interesting look at Biggs’ other writings while at the Cato Institute and their no-so-coincidental timing during the Stock Market downturn in 2002. We wrote a letter to the Senate in the fall warning about this nomination and here is our latest News Release on his appointment.

Not surprisingly, the Senate isn’t too thrilled with a President who preaches “bi-partisanship” and expects compromises on Social Security while at the same time he’s plugging his nominee into the number two position at the Social Security Administration without Senate confirmation. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) was quoted in the Washington Post saying:
"Prospects for getting real Social Security reform anytime soon just took a big hit with this recess appointment." Baucus added: "This administration is clearly not serious about leaving behind the failed schemes of the past."

But ultimately, the President has gotten his way. Someone who doesn’t even believe in Social Security is now the number two man in charge of its future.

No comments: