Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor


Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor


Article excerpt

The Road Ahead for Social Security

After attending the recent Albuquerque, N.M., forum on Social Security which specifically explored privatization issues, I was dismayed to read the headline "Social Security: How to Privatize?" (July 28).

Certainly dismantling Social Security through privatization is the fervent goal of many conservatives who would be delighted to transfer Franklin Roosevelt's most lasting New Deal program to Wall Street under any pretext. And, while many Republican and some Democrat lawmakers may readily go down the privatizing road, as a nation we certainly haven't reached the decision to privatize our most important, and successful, social program. Before we decide, several facts must be kept in mind during the debate.

First, Social Security is not going broke. Your report of the forum didn't question the inaccurate assumption currently in vogue that Social Security is going broke. Current wisdom is that by doing nothing, Social Security recipients will begin receiving only 75 percent of what present recipients receive starting in about the year 2030. It was always assumed by originators of the 1935 legislation that periodic adjustments would need to be made. In short, there is no "crisis" as we normally use the term.

Second, there are high, hidden costs related to privatizing, especially in setting up individual accounts. It is not at all clear that there will be a net benefit from changing the current low- administrative costs of Social Security to a private-investment system. The increased costs come from higher salaries, stock holder profits and dividends, and marketing expenses.

David Giltrow

Santa Fe, N.M.

The article "Beware Privatization" (July 27), puts forth many of the dangers of privatizing Social Security. Possibly the most serious problems of all is the deliberate bias built into the present system that provides higher returns to the poor and disabled with somewhat lower returns to those who are relatively well-off and who have contributed the maximum amount required. …

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