Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Social Security in Crisis

Just a quick post to break the hiatus.

The President's big argument in 2005 will be that the social security system is in crisis. He'll try to save the ship by scuttling it, in favor of private accounts. And, no, those private accounts won't be "optional" because he'll pay for the transition to them by cutting the guaranteed benefits of already inherent in the system.

The question to ask yourself is: is social security really in crisis? You can't take the President's word for it. After all, this is the guy who told us that Iraq was a threat to the U.S. I'm not going to call the guy a liar here, let's just say that the situation as he sees is always one that supports the policies he wants to put in place.

There's no looming crises here. The social security trust fund has money to last it another 75 years, and that's assuming our economy grows more slowly than it has historically. People keep pointing to 2030 as the the breaking point for the system. Really, that's only the point where the amount of money going out will start to exceed the amount coming in. That's not good. But, this is a huge program, so it can survive for decades after that, even in that situation. I'm not saying it should. I'm just saying that the government isn't going to start bouncing checks to retirees in 2030.

Is there a problem? Of course there is. But how radical a solution do we need? There was a problem in Iraq, too. The most radical solution -- war, is the one we used to solve it. But it wasn't necessary. The most radical solution to the social security problem is to tear the system down and replace it with private accounts. It's not the only solution out there. What I'm not hearing from Democrats, though, are any ideas to counter Bush's. One way he'll win this debate is by being the only person with a solution on the table. In a lot of ways, that's how Bush won the most recent election. So, what Democrat out there has the guts to stand up an offer an alternative. Mr. Kerry? Seriously, man, you're never going to be President, so... step up to the plate here.


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