Five thoughts on Social Security

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything remotely political here and social security has been on my mind lately (with all the various NPR talk show coverage of it), so I thought I’d post five brief thoughts on the whole mess:

  • After listening to various pundits and such over the last few weeks talking about the future of the Social Security system, it is very clear to me that no one— not on the right nor the left, within the administration nor “neutral” government offices, within think tanks and/or universities nor within diners and/or on the street– has a freakin’ clue what’s going to happen with the future of Social Security. It’s all guess work at best.
  • I’m 38 (soon to be 39) years old, and all the people I know in my general age group and income bracket assume that they aren’t going to get a whole heck of a lot of money from Social Security at retirement no matter what they do to the system. Personally, I have always thought of Social Security as simply a tax I pay to support old people, and by the time I get to be an old person, there ain’t going to be much money left. Of course, this is why I (and everyone else I know in my age group and income bracket) have some kind of retirement plan. And of course, this is also why people of my age group but who aren’t saving for retirement for some reason (they don’t have the money to save, they’re just aren’t thinking about it, etc.) are going to be a lot worse off than old people today.
  • While I have mixed feelings about privatization of the system, I am on the whole against it and I think the people who are for it are self-deluded. The kind of person all for this is the same kind of person who thinks that they are so much smarter than everyone else that they can do a better job of investing the money themselves. This is the kind of person who doesn’t buy into a mutual fund or take his money to a professional, but rather just “plays the market.” It’s also the kind of person who is pretty confident that when they go to a casino they are “smart” enough to consistently win. Las Vegas was built on the “wisdom” of these idiots.
  • What the democrats and others against reform really should do is launch a campaign showing old people of the future sitting around having to make choices about medicine or food, living in horrifying conditions, and then have this person talk about how all was going great with their social security fund until the market just tanked. In other words, the folks against this ought to take a page from Carl “Turd Blossom” Rowe’s playbook and scare the shit out of people.
  • I predict that Social Security reform is going to be Bush’s Waterloo. Either he is going to not get it and he’ll manage to waste too much of his “political capital” in the process, or he will get it, old people will get angry, and there will be hell to pay in the mid-term elections in 2006. You read it here first.
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