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"Losing my faith in humanity ... one neocon at a time."

Thursday, January 20, 2005

At Least George Will is Honest

posted by Ron Beasley at 1/20/2005 09:50:00 AM


George Will does something today Bush and the Republican lawmakers can't do. He told the truth about the Social Security non-crisis and told the truth about why he doesn't like the current system and is in favor of private accounts. Number one, he admits there is no crisis.
What constitutes a crisis is a matter of opinion, and everyone is entitled to his or her own. But not to his or her own facts. Here are some:

Social Security outlays may exceed revenue by 2018 -- that date almost certainly will recede further into the future, as it has before, as the economy outperforms expectations. After that, the government bonds that Social Security surpluses have bought (money used to fund the government) will be entirely redeemed, as the Social Security Administration calculates, by 2042. Or 2052, according to the Congressional Budget Office, using different assumptions about the rate of economic growth. That depends partly on the rate of productivity growth: Might a growth rate unusually high by historical standards become normal? Immigration rates will affect the ratio of workers to retirees.

Some people warning of a distant Social Security crisis postulate 75 years of 1.8 percent annual growth. But if America has 75 such sluggish years, Social Security's insolvency will hardly be the nation's largest problem -- and personal retirement accounts will reflect, not compensate for, the stagnation.
Good for you George, it's nice to see some honesty from the right for a change. He still believes in replacing the current system with private accounts.
But the best reasons rise from the philosophy of freedom:

Voluntary personal accounts will allow competing fund managers, rather than a government monopoly on income transfers from workers to retirees, to allocate a large pool of money. This will enhance the economic dynamism conducive to an open society. Personal accounts will respect individuals' autonomy and competence and will narrow the wealth gap by facilitating the accumulation of wealth -- bequeathable wealth -- by people of modest incomes.
Well that sounds real good but we know now that even educated Americans don't have the skill, time or inclination to "manage" their 401k plans. What Will is suggesting is a "freedom" to retire with even less "security" for many if not most Americans. While I may disagree with George Will I applaud his honesty, something that is very rare from the right.