Friday, May 13, 2005

Social Security

I've been asked by a commenter to open a discussion on Social Security. It looks like the guy is a conservative, so I'm curious what he wants to say about it, or why he wants to do it here.

I'll start the discussion by offering my opinion on Social Security.

First, there is no "crisis" that's a scare tactic used by Republicans (they're good at playing on people's fears, that's why they're still in control in the first place) in order to distract the public from the fact that the main plan that has been suggested (Bush's private accounts) will not do anything whatsoever to alleviate any problems that Social Security does face.

If by some miracle, I'm wrong and there is a Social Security crisis (there's not, but hypothetically), then the Republicans pushing private accounts is even more disgusting, since as I mentioned above, they would do absolutely nothing to fix that crisis. So, if there is a crisis and they believe that Social Security must be fixed, then they should get off this push for private accounts and suggest something that will actually address the problem.

Also, any problems that Social Security does have can be pretty easily fixed by raising (or eliminating) the cap on income that social security is collected on. Or the retirement age could be changed, people are living longer, I don't see any reason they can't work longer. There are any number of simple tweaks that could address the real problems with Social Security. Republicans don't want you to know about these, because then you won't be afraid, and then you won't blindly support whatever plan they suggest.

Finally, if people really want to be part of an "ownership society" and invest their own money for retirement because they think that they will get a better return that way, well, there is nothing stopping them from investing their own money for retirement. But wouldn't it be nice to have Social Security just in case your investments don't pan out? Investing means risk, risk means you could lose. Social Security is not supposed to be risky, it's supposed to be solid and something you can count on. And even if it wasn't, I should mention again that private accounts do absolutely nothing to address potential future Social Security shortfalls. So, even if they were a good idea (they're not), we would still have the same problems (or "crisis" if you're a republican) that we have now. And in addition, we would have to borrow money to payout to replace the money that is diverted into private accounts, so we would actually have more problems. Nice plan, huh?

So, feel free to discuss Social Security here. I imagine most of my readers will agree with me on this subject, but please add any thoughts you have.

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