Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Antisocial Insecurity: Kevin Drum has pretty much convinced me that we have nothing to worry about in regards to Social Security. He has argued, persuasively in repeated posts, that so long as the economy grows at a nominal rate, there will be money for future retirees. He points out that in 1994, projections showed that the federal government would have to cut benefits in 35 years, by 2029, in order to keep Social Security solvent. But current projections show that we may have to cut benefits in 38 years, around 2042. The way we're going, that deadline will keep being extended.

And President Bush has not convinced me that his partial privatization or personal savings accounts are either necessary or affordable. How can we possibly let younger workers, who currently fund the Social Security system through money withheld from their paychecks, keep some of that money without causing a massive shortfall in the system? Though this is a common argument against Bush's plan, I have heard no reasonable counterexplanation from the administration.

But there's one other thing I can't help but notice. When Democrats controlled the White House, they claimed that Social Security was in serious trouble. Clinton urged us to "save Social Security first". Al Gore went on and on about his lockbox. Democrats in Congress accused the Republicans of spending all the money in the "Social Security trust fund", which Republicans countered never actually existed. The GOP blamed the Democrats of using scare tactics, scaring seniors, and "Mediscare" (oh, wait, that's something else, but you get the point).

Now Republicans control, well, all of the government. So Bush wants to reform Social Security to fix the "crisis" before the program goes belly up, which would keep the youth of today from reaping benefits in their retirement. Democrats counter that Bush shouldn't privatize all of Social Security by taking seniors' money and gambling with it.

It's frustrating, because neither side has yet to really present an honest argument about what they want to do and how the other side is bad. It's all based on emotion and exaggeration.


Post a Comment

Copyright © Staunch Moderate
Using Caribou Theme | Bloggerized by Themescook