Thursday, March 10, 2005

Who Cares About Social Security?

The Washington Post, who gave away the slant of the article with the headline "Trouble Outside the Bubble", ridiculed the President's speaking tour to gather support for private accounts within Social Security. Link. One point especially caught my attention,
And consider the increasing focus on what appears to be a bad generational split for the president: Senior citizens are so attached to Social Security that they oppose change on principle; Young people are so uninterested in Social Security that they don't really care one way or the other.

I believe the article's author, Dan Froomkin, is wrong on both counts. Yes, young people are not very interested in Social Security, but that is because they believe, with good reason, that their participation will only consist of putting money in while they work. They recognize that the current system, if not changed, will be bankrupt long before they reach retirement age, which may be 80 or 90 by then, if Congress keeps raising it. For the first time ever, someone has proposed a plan that will allow them to collect retirement income in their later years. They will be very interested now.

As to the interest of seniors now, it is not over principle, but over the very practical issue of the continuation of their benefits. They are no longer able to work, so the bankruptcy of the Social Security system means their own personal pauperism as well. If they can be assured that changes proposed will not affect their benefits, they will not oppose a plan that will allow their grandchildren to collect benefits as well. Democrats always assume that seniors are totally selfish, and that will sell out their grandchildren to poverty if it preserves their income. I, on the other hand, have rarely if ever met seniors who did not love their grandchildren and would even make some sacrifices (not called for in the president's plan) for their benefit.


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