Tuesday, March 15, 2005

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What Are We Going to Do? George W. Bush Is Phasing Out Social Security!
Millions of desperate future senior Americans will despair George W. Bush pilfering the financial bedrock of their time of life. Social Security has been the nation's most successful of the government's anti-poverty programs. FDR's 70-year-old plan brought about a dramatic drop in the poverty that previously dogged the elderly at an especially high rate. The Social Security insurance system works because it isolates each American's retirement security from inflation and the unpredictable ups and downs of the investment markets. On the other hand, Bush's proposed private retirement accounts only hamstring retirees with these uncertainties.

He calls for Social Security recipients to accept a cut in benefits and promises that they will be better off having investing in the stock market, but they won't. First, It appears that the George W. Bush plan will necessarily reduce future generations' basic benefits by 50%, but with the private accounts incapable of making up the difference. Then, fund manager fees will siphon off as much as 20% or even a third from the accumulated nest eggs (The Wall Street Journal). Next, the George W. Bush plan mandates the government to take back from each retiree a so-called investment 'loan' plus 3% interest by cutting their Social Security benefits by that amount. Also, Bush's plan cuts benefits now and in the future by indexing them to inflation instead of wages. Finally, those who do badly with their private accounts or retire during a period of economic downturn will be in trouble. Remember, the stock market didn't recover from the 1929 crash until the 1950's.

Incidentally, Private retirement accounts have already been tried with poor results. The 401(k) plans appear to be falling considerably short of accumulations needed for secure retirement. And, don't forget that millions of participants had their accounts deeply cut during the last economic slump. Furthermore, experiments with private retirement accounts in other countries haven't meet expectations either.

Many right wingers including Alf Landon back in 1936 and Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan in later years called for the end of Social Security, which is the ultimate goal of Bush's massive promotion of his two-fold lie of a Social Security crises being cured by his private retirement accounts. Shame on you, George W. Bush, for attempting to take away from the elderly the guarantee of a minimally adequate income that protects them from a variety of risks and to deny the many who have struggled all their lives the opportunity to look forward to a decent standard of comfort and dignity when they retire.

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