Thursday, June 23, 2005

Social Security

Bush is running into opposition even within his own party on his Social Security agenda. I think everyone agrees social security reform is needed. I also think most people agree that Bush is pushing for too much, too fast. I don't understand this push for privatization. I'm not necessarily against it, but it has to be very carefully constructed and most likely phased in very gradually. Bush even admits that they will not bring solvency to the program. So why push for it? I just don't get it. Why doesn't Bush break it into two parts? Fix the solvency first and then deal with the private accounts. Instead, he resorts to partisan name calling and blames the Democrats for blocking it.

I think something that should be done immediately is remove the salary cap that is part of the formula. Not just raise it, remove it. I don't understand why it's there to begin with. Remove it and get the rich to pay for the poor's retirement.

Republicans are proposing putting the current social security surpluses into private accounts. This proposal and removing salary caps both seem like obvious non controversial changes.

I do think that Social Security is supposed to be a safety net. It should not be something everyone gets. It should be a welfare program. It's goal should be to prevent people from living in poverty after they are no longer able to work. I also think that the taxes currently set aside Should be gradually transitioned to a 401k style mandated investment plan. By the time I retire in 2050, I would expect no social security payments because as an upper middle class wage earner, I don't qualify. I would expect the required investments in funds with high level of government oversight would be supplemented with voluntary 401k funds to provide a comfortable retirement. That's my gut feeling. I reserve the right to change my position upon further review of the facts. :)

The New York Times editorial that got me going is here.


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