Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Social Security: Musings

So I figured I'd just riff a little bit on my thoughts on the Social Security debate of late.

I very much dislike the dishonesty of the debate from the Bush side. From what I've heard running in the background of the debate, many from the right dislike the very idea of Social Security. They view it as socialist. They view it as entitlements. They view it as welfare for the elderly. They don't want the system operating in any country that they're a part of, because they ideologically oppose what they see as its underpinnings.

Here's the problem: It's overwhelmingly popular among the general population of the country. People don't want to see Social Security phased out. They don't want to see people left to fend for themselves in retirement. They like the idea of the retirement floor being something that can help them more easily keep their head above water. So what's the solution?

Well, the solution is to propose a plan which will end up crippling Social Security past the point where it can be fixed, so that it can only be phased out, all under the guise of "strengthening and saving Social Security." These private accounts play into peoples' thinking that the government is a bunch of bureaucratic ninnies, and that any average Joe can do things far better than the government ever could. That's it. That's the whole reasoning behind those 30-some percent of people who support the plan. They're hoping to make themselves millionaires in retirement off of all this fabulous investment opportunity (which everybody can do, obviously, hope you enjoy the sarcasm).

But Bush's plan does nothing to address the problem that he is claiming needs to be fixed, and is therefore the reason that the whole system needs an overhaul. He says: X needs to be changed because of problem Y. I propose we replace X with Z, which still has problem Y, only bigger.

How do people accept that logic?