'What Are You So Fearful Of?'

J$P Instant Transcript! Michelle Malkin and Ellen Ratner on Dayside.

From Dayside with Linda Vester, February 4 2005:

LINDA VESTER [FOX NEWS]: Without getting too mired in the mind-numbing numbers of this whole thing, we want to bat this around with our Fox News analysts. In this corner, syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin, and in this corner, radio talk show host Ellen Ratner. Hi guys.



VESTER: We thought we would frame this just a little bit differently, just to sort of get people thinking about what it will be like in 2042, when the President says the Social Security trust fund will be kaput. Paris Hilton will be 60 years old, and Brad Pitt will be 78 years old; he'll be a geezer. OK, now that we're there, let's talk about how many think that there will be money in the system when you retire. Here's a Fox News poll; it shows, for those under 30, 68% say no, it's won't be there. You agree? You agree, yes or no?

[AUDIENCE: Yesses.]

VESTER: So Ellen, what's so wrong with the President trying to propose the personal accounts?

RATNER: Oh, there's a million things wrong. First of all, the Congressional Budget Office puts it at about 50-52, at which point the Social Security fund will be able to pay 81% of the benefits. There's a lot of ways of jimmying around with it without trying to heap up the economy by putting all this money basically in the stock market. And why, I'm just curious, is the President not even talking about Medicare or Medicaid, much more of a worse crisis? Probably because he won't be able to get that much money in the stock market.

VESTER: Hmm, Michelle, well maybe he's just trying to take things one thing at a time, but I have to say I'm still kind of on the fence. Why is it that the Social Security can't be solved with some tinkering around the edges?

MALKIN: Well that's what people have been saying for decades, Linda, and none of it has ever come to fruition. And the sooner we do something drastic about it, the better off we all will be. And I think that what the President is doing is bold, it's forward looking, and it's the dictionary definition of the kind of brave moral leadership we need in Washington, and that the Democrats are always saying they believe in.

VESTER: Hmm, so you think that maybe what's behind this also is that the Bush Administration would like turn sort of the New Deal Democrats into the Ownership Society Republicans?

MALKIN: I think that's definitely part of it. I also think that President Bush made clear that he has his own personal stake in it. He has two daughters in their 20s, and he wants to insure that they, and all of their peers, have a future and have a stake in it. I mean, the thing about the Democrats is that they are so stuck in this retrograde view of how people should handle their own retirement funds.

RATNER: Wait a minute.

MALKIN: We live in a whole different era than when Social Security was first created, and I think that people of my generation are very confident that if they had a little bit more of their own money to spend and invest themselves, they could do a heck of a lot better than the government does it.

VESTER: Ellen, she's talking about your people.

RATNER: Well, yeah, first of all I want to say that I'm 53 years old, so I'm too years younger than the guaranteed benefit group. I hope I don't wind up like a notch baby like my aunt, and those people got sort of hurt when Social Security came out, the people born in 1920 etc. But secondly, I mean, look at all of this. I mean, you're talking about not having an ownership society. I get the Social Security statement every year, right around my birthday. I know how much is in it. And I also have friends who are government employees who have put their money in all those government stock funds etc, and sometimes they've lost a lot of money. And if they were to have retired that year when the money was down, or even at 5 years, they'd really be hurt. So I don't believe in just pouring all this money into the stock market.

VESTER: Very quickly.

MALKIN: Well Ellen, but what are you so scared of? This is voluntary. People can choose or not choose to do this, and if they wanted to stay in the regular system they could. What are you so fearful of?

VESTER: The full deal isn't done yet; at this point we're just still talking proposals. But we've got to leave it there; Ellen, Michelle, good to see you both. Thanks for being here.

posted: Fri - February 4, 2005 at 01:49 PM       j$p  send