Wednesday, February 09, 2005

 

Social Insecurity

OK, I'll be the first to admit that I don't know much about social security, but I still find each party's position on the issue to be somewhat unattractive:

Dems - It's not broken, so let's not mess with it.

Um, great, except most of the projections I've seen show the Social Security trust fund being completely depleted around the time I reach retirement. I find this to be an issue, although I can understand why someone who was voted into office by a bunch of AARP blue-hairs may not.

Repubs - It's broken and eventually will contribute heavily to the general budget deficit, so, uh, let's get ahead of the curve and contribute heavily to the deficit right now. Say, by a few trillion dollars or so.

Great idea. Has anyone figured out how many trillion we're talking about, how long of a period of time that will be spread over, and how much interest we'll rack up on that by the time the SS trust fund is projected to go tits-up?

Fortunately, we've got the president thinking hard about this issue:

Because the -- all which is on the table begins to address the big cost
drivers. For example, how benefits are calculate, for example, is on the table;
whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases.
There's a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you
couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those -- changing those
with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to
be -- or closer delivered to what has been promised.

Does that make any sense to you? It's kind of muddled. Look, there's a
series of things that cause the -- like, for example, benefits are calculated
based upon the increase of wages, as opposed to the increase of prices. Some
have suggested that we calculate -- the benefits will rise based upon inflation,
as opposed to wage increases. There is a reform that would help solve the red if
that were put into effect. In other words, how fast benefits grow, how fast the
promised benefits grow, if those -- if that growth is affected, it will help on
the red. Okay, better? I'll keep working on it.

Yes, please keep working on it. He also states:

First of all, when I was 27 years old, I don't remember having a discussion
with anybody about whether or not Social Security would be there.

Yea, I'm guessing when he was 27, he was <must... resist... cocaine... comment> more concerned with retiring on many millions of Daddy's money, and I suspect that a large number of the men and women in Congress who will be passing SS reform legislation likely will regard their SS check as little more than bingo money.

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