Wednesday, February 16, 2005


Australia has long had what GWB is advocating and it is uncontroversial here. I have said nothing on the U.S. debate so far because Dick McDonald does such a good job on it but here are some recent interesting excerpts anyway:

Leftists: Do as I say, not as I do "In the Democratic response to President Bush's call to make Social Security a better deal for younger workers through voluntary personal retirement accounts, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid likened the plan to a risky game of 'roulette.' New York Times columnist Paul Krugman called it a 'system in which workers engage in speculation that no financial advisor would recommend.' In opposing personal accounts, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) launched national ads stating: 'Winners and losers are stock market terms. Do you really want them to become retirement terms?' Given the way the Democrats and some commentators are talking about stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, you would assume that none of them invest any of their own money, and instead keep sacks of cash in their mattresses."

Pension funds invest in the stockmarket anyhow: "The debate over allowing younger workers to invest a portion of their Social Security payroll taxes in personal retirement accounts has become increasingly politicized, with some groups charging that the plan will amount to "gambling" in the stock market and giving billions in Social Security dollars to Wall Street pension fund managers. For example a recent series of television ads sponsored by the AARP depict a middle-aged man and woman saying, "If we feel like gambling, we'll play the slots... According to the Federal Reserve Board, public employee pension plans alone had nearly $2 trillion in assets as of September 2004. Overall, 54.8 percent of these assets were invested in corporate equities"

That wicked cigar fancier: "Perhaps hoping to win over undecided Democrats to President Bush's Social Security reform proposal, White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove told FOX News on Wednesday that former President Bill Clinton did 'a courageous thing' by pointing out the retirement program's problems. 'President Clinton did a courageous thing when he pointed out the looming insolvency of Social Security,' Rove said, adding that the current program is facing 'a demographic time bomb that's going to go off with certainty.' Social Security currently is taking in more money than it pays out, and is expected to do so for the next 13 to 15 years. But after that, the program will be paying out more money than it collects and is likely to go bankrupt by 2042 or 2052, depending on whose calculations are used."

Social security reform is anti-black? "Milloy contradicts himself. He lays out all the ways that we blacks are killing ourselves: cigarettes, unprotected sex, obesity and high salt intake. Then he indicates that somehow these self-inflicted wounds are about a "slave health deficit," and that some researchers say they have found links between hypertension and racism. He then concludes that somehow the president not only does not care but is a cheerleader for this black dance of death -- all because he wants privatization of Social Security so badly that he wants blacks to die early to make a case for it."

Jeff Jacoby: "You don't have to be a financial wizard to know that Social Security is a lousy investment. Unlike the money you deposit in a bank or salt away in an IRA, you don't own the money you pay into Social Security. You have no legal right to get those dollars back, and when you die you can't pass them on to your heirs. Nor can you use your Social Security account before you retire -- you can't borrow against it and you can't cash it in. You aren't allowed to put the money into a balanced portfolio. You can't even watch as the interest accumulates, since your Social Security nest egg doesn't earn any interest".


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