The Republican Dictionary, by Katrina vanden Heuvel, is an evocative review of the power of language and spin in regards to, among other things, social security (which I’m guessing will eventually be renamed so that Bush has an easier time enunciating–not that he cares about enunciating):
But here is the really funny thing about the personal/private accounts debate. Not only are they not personal accounts, they’re not private accounts either. They are in fact U.S. government loans. (Bear with me now, because this will only hurt for a moment.) You see, your payroll taxes will still be used to cover the benefits of current retirees, but under Bush’s scheme the government will place a certain “diverted” amount into an account in your name. It sounds like a personal retirement account, but it’s not. It’s a loan. Because if your account does really well (above 3 percent), when you retire the government will deduct the money it lent you (plus 3 percent interest) from your monthly Social Security check leaving you with almost the same amount you would have received under the current system. If your account does really poorly (below 3 percent), you are out of luck. According to Congressional Budget Office, the expected average return will be 3.3 percent, so the net gain will be zero.