Monday, March 21, 2005

Save Social Security Now!!!

The Social Security "debate" shows clearly what is wrong with Washington D.C. Just as national Democrats fought against tax cuts that boosted the economy from recession (eventually blaming the tax cuts for the recession--someone buy these folks a calendar!) and after caterwalling against the War on Terror as if we started it, they now turn their efforts toward the absurd contention that Social Security is just fine and dandy as it is and we should just leave it alone.
The first baby boomers turn 62 in 2008 and all credible analysts see this as an unsustainable drain on Social Security. When Bill Clinton was POTUS, he said the choice for saving the system was to raise taxes, cut benefits, or invest some of the money privately. In 1999, with the problem more distant than it is now, Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) said "Most of us have no problem taking a small amount of the Social Security proceeds and putting it in the private sector." The only thing that has changed since then is that Harry became Senate Minority leader. Now he seems to think that investment choice would destroy the Republic.
But the fact is that private accounts are all that we need to preserve Social Security. And yes, I know that President Bush seems to disagree. The rationale for private accounts is pretty simple. First, diverting Trust Fund dollars keeps Congress from spending them. That is huge. When Congress takes Social Security Trust Fund dollars and spends them, that money has to eventually be produced all over again to pay off the IOU. That process stops if we stop allowing excess payroll taxes from being spent and replaced with IOU's. Second, giving people the option to gain market returns on their money can't, over any time horizon of five years or more, be worse than what is currently earned in the system. And third, the private accounts will be owned by the people who created them, American individuals. As it is now, the same government officials who want to starve Terri Schiavo so she dies on their schedule will always be hoping you and I die quickly enough to keep their ponzi scheme alive.