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Social security thoughts…

    I really don’t understand the resistance to the so
called privatization of social security. The only thing I can figure is
that the people who hate this aren’t listening to what they are saying.
I have a hard time imagining anything more offensive and patronizing
than telling people that not only are they too stupid and incompetent
to handle their own money, but that “we” know what’s best for them.
    But surely we have to worry about the uncertainty of
the markets, right? It would be terrible to not know what you would be
getting, or to loose everything. As opposed to what? Social security?
There is no contract with social security, congress has changed both
the retirement age and benefits multiple times over the years. Social
security is far from garunteed… If anyone is really worried about their money, let them put it into Tbills or something like that. I’m willing to bet they’d get a better return on that investment then the current scheme.
    Who are these people we’re supposed to be worried
about anyway? Old people? Stupid people? One thing for sure, it’s
always someone else that opponents of private social security are
worried about. Maybe you know someone you’re actually worried about,
would you be able to tell them that they shouldn’t have control over
their money? Would you be able to tell them that “we” can’t trust them?
It’s a hell of a lot easier to imagine a group of people to worry about
than it is to identify them and then confront them. If people would
think of other people as being similar to themselves instead of being
inferior or incompetent, this country would be a lot better off.
    I suspect that a lot of the resistance is due to the
fact that W proposed it. Knee jerk political responses don’t help
anyone. Whatever you may think of our president, it is possible that a
good idea can come out of his mouth…

10 replies on “Social security thoughts…”

OK then, enlighten me

The money I’m paying into SS now, it’s partially being used to pay benefits for people TODAY, yes? So when I start taking some or all of that money and putting it into a private account, where it can’t be used to pay benefits for current SS recipients… Less current money into system + same current money out of system = Need for more current money into system today. Where’s that other money gonna come from?

B-

Re: OK then, enlighten me

We’re going to pay for it of course. There really isn’t any other option at this point. The question isn’t where is the money going to come from, it’s do we want to pass this foolishness along to future generations? Social security needs to be fixed, and it’s going to hurt thanks to the procrastination of the boomers. I don’t have any numbers handy, but I wonder what our future commitments to social security look like as compared to what we’re paying right now for the mess in Iraq. Here’s my idea… Establish some current age at which the old social security system would not apply to. Everyone that age and younger would participate in the new system. People older than that can opt in or out. Everyone would have to continue paying social security until there are no more claiments. If I understand things correctly, social security payments will grow steadily for a number of years, and then decline as the boomers die off. Yes, this means that all of us will have to pay twice as much during this period, but it is a small price to pay to get the country out from under the house of cards that social security is. Obviously it’s much more complicated than that, but you get the general idea. Whatever happens, it is going to cost us plenty, I hope that people are smart enough to pick a program that will solve the problems long term instead of doing what politicians have done for so many years…

Isaac

BS or inneptitude… which is it?

Simply stated. Bush and his team have zero credibility.

Why should we believe them about this issue? They have disappointed on so many other issues. As some of us non-Fox News watchers now know, there were no WMD’s. The US quietly gave up the search a couple of months back. What about the prescription drug benefit for medicare? It turns out that during the next 10 years it is now going to cost roughly twice as much (720 billion to 1.2 trillion) as was originally reported by the Bushies to congress (400 billion) when congress reluctantly voted it in back in 2004.

Why should we trust their math skills or the cries of impending crisis. We have heard it all before. A partial privatization of SS may have some merits to it… but I would never trust this crew to guide the nation through such a momentous change.

Randy

Re: BS or inneptitude… which is it?

I hope that you’re not implying that I’m a fox news watcher, I’d hate to have to kick your ass…

Isaac

Re: BS or inneptitude… which is it?

Watch out… I know Tai Chi. I’ll get really relaxed and flexible on your ass!

Randy

Yeah, W and his band of idiots haven’t shown much in the way of credability. There’s good news and bad news here, the good news is that all he can really do is lobby congress to do what he wants. The bad news is that this is all in congress’ hands. There really isn’t any debate over the sillyness of the current social security system, it will go belly up sooner or later. Fixing it isn’t a matter of if but of when. As little as I think of Bush, I’ll give him credit for pursuing something that is so unpopular in both parties. He is doing something that few politicians will dare to, it might be the first positive thing that I can think of coming out of his being in office…

Isaac

I still don’t buy it…

Yeah, it may need a tuneup but I don’t buy the doomsday scenarios posited by the Bushits. If there was a real problem, doing something to fix it would lend legitimacy, to this troubled administration, hence the push to make it seem like an imminent danger. Other than 911, and Iraq, what legacy will this administration leave? Like Saddam, this SS scare is just a straw man for the Bushits to whack at.

Randy

Strawman?

Strawman? You’re the one bringing Bush into this. The only strawman argument I see is that we shouldn’t do this, or even listen because it’s George’s idea. This has nothing to do with him, it has everything to do with a terrible, inefficient, outdated system. I’ve never heard of anyone say that social security won’t fail. There is disagreement as to when but not if. Ask any decent economist about social security, you’ll get an earful. If we just discount the raving libertarians that tell you that the government shouldn’t be putting money aside for us, you are still left with an amazingly inefficent way of transferring money. It doesn’t take a genius to think of better ways of using the same money we’re paying now and do what social security does, but better. What is difficult is figuring out to pay for the money already promised and fix it for the future. You need to stop thinking of this in terms of dubya and think in terms of what is best for the future. I don’t really care what his legacy is, nor do I care about his other agendas. Fixing social security is a good idea, personal accounts are a good idea. I have confidence that congress will either do a half assed job or not do anything at all, which is a shame. When this comes up again in twenty years it will be a real problem and it will be much more difficult to get around. There’s no telling how this country will be doing by then, it is far better to do something now when it is mearly annoying as opposed to the future when it could be crippling.

Isaac

Re: Strawman?

Isaac, quit trying to paint me as a raving bush hater…
I am, but that is quite beside the point.

Here is a link to an excellent article from June of 1999 that talks about about the origins of the Anti SS crusade in conservative think tanks, The Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation, as well as the media’s lazy, inaccurate coverage of the subject.

http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=1462

C’mon, its economics. No wonder our collective eyes glaze over when they start talking about this stuff! 😉

And to prove that not every economist believes in the inevitable downfall of Social Security, Check out this article from the Center For Economic Policy Research website. It talks about a Congressional Budget Office report that doesn’t quite jibe with conservative SS failure fantasies.

http://www.cepr.net/Bytes/social_security_2004.htm

We all know SS could use a tweak or two. A tax increase maybe. Maybe remove the 90K earnings cap. Do you think Bush would even consider either of these less expensive options over his proposed overhaul? I think not. The only solution we have been presented with is the only solution they will even consider… privatization.

I think the US would be far better served if we were talking about single payer healthcare. The need for Universal Comprehensive healthcare coverage IS an immediate and pressing issue.

Re: Strawman?

Very interesting links… I had assumed that SS was in the process of going under it’s true, but that wasn’t my main reason for supporting privitization. If we assume that the social security system will continue forever with no problems, I would still favor privitization. Why? The reason screamed out in the links you sent, what a colossal waste of money. How many trillions are they expecting to be sitting in government bonds? Not only are individual people missing out on the miricle of compound intrest, the economy as a whole is missing out on the hundreds of millions of dollars that could be injected into the economy. For me, privitization is a win win situation, people get better returns on their money (even if only put into a CD or other conservitive asset) and all of the money will be used for some sort of purpose in the economy. This is the waste that I was referring to. The biggest cost involved with any decision is the thing you give up to do it. In this case, we (as a country) are giving up quite a bit.

Oh, sorry about painting you as a Bush hater (as accurate as it may be:-) but I felt like you were painting me as a Bush lover (which I’m not). My original statement stands, I don’t understand the resistance to something that is much more efficient and beneficial.

Isaac

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