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Remember when President Bush was castigated by the left for wanting to gut social security, and remember all the campaign ads leading up to this last election featuring old folks worried about losing their benefits? That all changes once you are elected.

President Obama is seeking to establish automatic retirement accounts for all workers under his fiscal-2010 budget proposal submitted to Congress yesterday.Under the plan, all employers that didn’t offer retirement plans would be forced to enroll employees in direct-deposit individual retirement accounts unless workers chose not to participate. The provision is intended “to make our savings more effective and more progressive,” a senior official with the Department of the Treasury said Thursday at a press briefing. He asked not to be identified.

The administration is still working out details of the proposal. “The main idea, as the president talked about often during the campaign, is to have more of an automatic savings in IRA and 401(k),” the official said

A good friend of mine retorts: “Politicians are so amusing. So in other words, “privatizing social security”, toward which the previous administration made a mild gesture by proposing that workers to devote a small portion of their contributions to private accounts, was characterized evil and “risky”. But this is a great idea? I fail to see the distinction, except that this plan is apparently limited to “low-income workers.” I guess the rest of us are stuck with the same old state-of- the-art Ponzie (Madoff?) scheme known as “Social Security” — why don’t I feel secure?

Never mind your views on whether forced savings are mora. I have the feeling that if a Republican ran a campaign offering free health care it would be castigated by the statists too: “It was OUR idea first!”

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