Letting People Control Their Social Security Funds

Article excerpt

Regarding your article "Stock Nation" (Feb. 1): The rise of worker capitalism in America is indeed historic. The article states, "There's been no stampede yet to support privatization of Social Security." Perhaps not on Capitol Hill, but ordinary workers are keen to embrace personal retirement accounts.

The most recent Gallup poll shows 62 percent of Americans want to "put a portion of their Social Security payroll taxes into personal retirement accounts that would be invested in stocks and bonds," with only 33 percent opposed. This constitutes an almost 50 percent increase in support since March 1999.

Likewise, an August 1999 Zogby International poll showed support for personal accounts among every race, gender, political, and working-age group. By 2-to-1, respondents were more likely to vote for a presidential candidate in 2000 who supports personal- retirement accounts.

Stock ownership raises income, increases economic growth, and equalizes the distribution of wealth. Personal retirement accounts would mean that all workers would see those benefits.

Andrew G. Biggs Washington

Trying Indonesia military for East Timor

In response to your article "Responsibility for rampages" (Feb. 2): Indonesian investigation of human rights violations must continue.

The prosecution of military officers and others responsible for the violence surrounding the UN-organized independence vote in East Timor would be healthy for Indonesia's fragile democracy. Nevertheless, justice for the East Timorese killed and displaced should not depend on Indonesian action against a still-powerful military.

The international community has its own responsibility to act. The scale of the crimes committed in East Timor certainly constituted crimes against humanity. These actions were part of a systematic attempt to undermine and then overturn a UN-organized vote in East Timor, whose inhabitants and most of the world's nations have never recognized the legitimacy of Indonesia's occupation. …