Bush has even managed to befuddle his senior policy advisor, Larry Lindsey. According to The Washington Post, Lindsey, in response to Bush's admission that he would divert $1trillion from Social Security, said, "I don't know why he [Bush] said what he said."
In a major economic address in New York recently, Al Gore today reacted to the confusion Governor Bush has created:
"Governor Bush is promising to take a trillion dollars out of Social Security and is promising to give it to younger workers for investments in private accounts. Sounds pretty good, doesn't it? The problem is, Governor Bush has promised the same money to seniors for their current benefits. The Wall Street Journal looked at his plan, and concluded that he could not possibly keep both promises.
"Which promise is he going to break? Who gets left out in the cold? And where does the trillion dollars come from in the first place?
"The money's nowhere in his budget. One of the authors of Governor Bush's proposal wrote a few months ago that Social Security would start borrowing heavily to make the program solvent under their approach. The borrowing would actually come to three trillion dollars. And just yesterday we learned that there's some confusion in the Bush campaign about how soon Social Security will be in deficit under their plan. Some say sooner, some say a little later. But either way, the trust fund would be drained.
"In this week's debate, this past Tuesday night, I asked the Governor to address this confusion, but when he tried to explain his proposal, his own chief economist said, and I quote from this morning newspaper account, "I don't know why he said what he said."
"Not exactly reassuring 19 days before an election. If his chief economist has no idea what he's talking about, how are the rest of us supposed to figure it out?"
- Would he raise the retirement age?
- Would he cut benefits?
- Would he allow Social Security to go bankrupt?
- Would he tax individual accounts by 75 to 100 percent?
Until Governor Bush answers these questions, we will let you design your own plan for him. You have four options: