Aug. 10, 2004 – Ahead of the Republican National Convention in New York, the Bush campaign unveiled an economic platform emphasizing the theme of "an era of ownership" to be ushered in if the president is reelected. The proposal, still vague, will include increased tax breaks for health care, savings and job training in order to pave the way for privatization of these services, which the Bush campaign says will "empower people."
In response, Jason Furman, John Kerry's economic-policy director told the Wall Street Journal: "We've already seen the beginning of George Bush's ownership society in his first four years, and it looks more like a debt society," referring both to current high levels of household debt and government deficits.
The new Republican economic platform also revives the Bush team's already-stated goal of partially privatizing Social Security. Bush proposes creating private savings accounts for young workers out of their payroll taxes. Currently, the US government takes payroll taxes from the generation of workers working now and channels that revenue to retirees and other program benefactors.
The Bush proposal effectively diverts these funds away from the pool of money available for older workers, many of whom have little to no savings. The Kerry Campaign also criticized the plan because it said the creation of private accounts also unfairly benefits workers earning more money or families who have extra money to put away as retirement savings.