Write Lightning is a blog from writer Deb Thompson.
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Mon, May 02 2005

Benefits From Reform?

I'm hearing a lot of this kind of talk right now among Baby Boomers. What I don't understand about all this is how it became a thing we must fix in a big hurry after decades of nothing much changing at all. If you go to the government's site on Social Security and take a look at the FAQ you can see just how crazy things are, with the first few questions being answered with "no plans to reduce benefits for current retirees" to the sudden warning to those age 35 (and younger) that their scheduled benefits "could be cut by 26 percent" (followed by a warning that the cuts could be even deeper). Is all this just an example of people procrastinating until the last minute to change things? Has everyone been in denial for the last 70 years? When workers first began paying into the system the taxes were something like 2 percent. If you check your most recent payroll check I do believe you'll find that's gone up significantly. And that didn't happen overnight.

About fifteen years ago my husband told me he would gladly give up every penny he had ever paid into Social Security up to that point if he could have all his payroll money from that day forward, to invest for retirement as he saw fit. That wasn't allowed, of course. Now we're being told that young workers should definitely be investing their own money, but that isn't really the case either. The government would still limit the ways in which the young workers can invest.

If we're going to put almost everyone on the doles, we need to just do it and suck the taxes out of everyone to pay for it and stop whining. If we're going to make young workers do it all on their own we should let them do it without the government personnel and politicians "helping", since they have apparently failed miserably at handling all this. Let the young workers invest their money as they see fit. Let's not make them put their money in this certain "choice" of five programs or that certain kind of account. A schizoid version of privatization isn't privatization at all.

There is also political talk of cutting Social Security benefits for those who earn a larger income. And, oh yes. While we're at it, we might as well have those who earn more money have more taken out of their current pay checks to help those who don't make as much money. Why would be penalize people for doing well financially? With this kind of thinking we might as well have everyone paid minimum wage and just put them on some retirement dole right now. What good is making a lot of money if all it gets you are cuts in benefits and increasingly higher taxes to pay for those who may not have planned as well for retirement?

It might be too late for we Boomers to save ourselves, but we can certainly stand on the side of people just entering the work force. Young people, don't let them sell you down the river. Stand up and fight for your money right now, before you fall through the cracks the way we have.

posted at: 07:52 | category: /Politics | link to this entry

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Stealin' copy is as bad as horse-thievin'
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