Magazine article Insight on the News

Democrat Blasts Tactics of McAuliffe. (Fair Comment)

Magazine article Insight on the News

Democrat Blasts Tactics of McAuliffe. (Fair Comment)

Article excerpt

With congressional election campaigns in full roar, Terence McAuliffe, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, this year sent out fundraising letters charging Republicans with plans to dismantle our Social Security system. As I see it, McAuliffe is guilty of mail fraud.

First, the letters imply that the plan requires most, if not all, Social Security tax revenues to be invested in stocks. This is false. Under the Bush plan no taxpayer is required to invest any revenues in the stock market. The investment is entirely voluntary and is limited to no more than 16 percent of the payroll tax.

Second, in characterizing it as a "Republican" plan, the letters fail to disclose that Democrats such as former senators Patrick Moynihan of New York and Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, as well as current senator John Breaux of Louisiana, have endorsed bipartisan proposals for investing Social Security revenues in stocks.

One of the arguments advanced in support of the bipartisan plans is that, like the present Bush plan, they provide special new benefits for women and minority groups--who tend strongly to favor the Democratic Party. Such plans, like the current Bush plan, provide for the inheritance by the taxpayers' heirs of the stock accumulated in Social Security accounts.

Currently, married women live on average some 10 years longer than their husbands. This means that, for a decade or more, the Bush plan will provide widows with much greater benefits than they now receive.

African-Americans in particular have shorter lives on average than whites. Many die before deriving any benefits from their Social Security accounts--which die with them. Under the Bush plan the heirs will inherit the stock accounts.

Finally, McAuliffe does not mention that former president Bill Clinton also had made a proposal similar to the Bush plan. Ironically, under the Clinton proposal the government, and not the taxpayer, selected the stock. This would give the corporations chosen by the White House a special incentive to make campaign contributions to the president. In contrast, under the Bush plan each taxpayer is free to choose stock from among a diversity of companies. Thus the political corruption fostered under the Clinton plan would not occur under the Bush proposal.

In my view McAuliffe's letters constitute a violation of Chapter 63 of the U.S. Criminal Code, which makes it a felony to use the mail to obtain money by "false or fraudulent pretenses. …

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