January 25 2005, 7:10 AM
After endorsing George W. Bush for president, the Denver Post's editorial page has decided to oppose Bush's signature second term initiative: the partial privatization of Social Security. When you read it carefully, you will see that the "advocates of radical reform" that the Post criticizes for "making up they own math" include the president himself. U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard also gets criticized for telling a Greeley audience that the government would default on its Social Security trust fund obligation when the plan stops running a surplus in 2018:
Allard's staff said the figures came from the Congressional Budget Office, but a CBO report actually portrays a different and subtler scenario. The CBO did in fact note the 2018 date, but it also says Social Security has enough income and reserves to pay all current benefits until 2052. After that, the system could still pay 80 percent of the now-promised benefits. Thus, Social Security likely would be in the black until mid-century, even if Congress does nothing.This editorial would be expected from a newspaper that opposed Bush in the last election, not from the Post. Either it is an early case of buyer's remorse, or the Post editorial board is so divided that the paper will come out in support of Bush on some issues and against him on others in a hard to predict fashion. If it is the latter, it could be a long four years for the Post's editorialists.