Navarrette on Social Security
San Diego newspaper columnist, Ruben Navarrette has an interesting column on Social Security reform. You can read it here. He sat on a panel discussing the issue of Social Security reform and made some intuitive observations.
For this crowd, the whole issue of reforming Social Security comes down to
trusting George Bush. For those who don't, it's tempting to buy the argument
that the administration is manufacturing a crisis to gin up public support
scheme that will make a fortune for "Bush's friends on Wall Street."
from their questions and comments, that's what many in the
believed. And they couldn't get past it. They insisted on
making the issue
political, when it's really generational.
disappointed me. So did the
fact that these seniors had convinced themselves
that there was no "crisis" in
Social Security because the best estimates are
that benefits will continue to be
paid out for the foreseeable future. They
didn't seem to care a whit about the
that future taxpayers will be put under to make that happen. This is the real
You know what else was disappointing? That many of the seniors were
so openly contemptuous of the idea of letting poor and working people invest
their own money in private retirement accounts. To listen to these seniors, the
less well-off aren't smart enough to know what to invest where, and so need the
government to provide them with a guaranteed benefit.
Putting aside the rank
condescension, such comments were horribly naive. Given the demographic changes
ahead – beginning with the retirement of 70 million baby boomers – don't expect
the Social Security system to give out any guarantees or to honor them if it
That's something that older generations need to understand – and which
younger generations figured out a long time ago.
What Navarrette points out is that it is the 55 and up generation who are against private accounts. Again, Bush has been negligent in pointing out the benefits to masses. He needs to sell, sell, sell the benefits to the working poor and lower middle class especially. These are the people who will gain the most from private accounts. If Bush continues to talk about the "future crisis" nothing positive is going to get done. This is a " what's in it for me" era and he needs to let people know. The young people are beginning to see the light. According to Navarrette, it's the blue hair crowd with reservations.
Just an observation.