Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Social Security Options Other Than Privatization

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Social Security Options Other Than Privatization

Article excerpt

Regarding your article, "Social Security: Insurance - or an investment plan?" (May 22): I found myself in full agreement with the article regarding the importance of having legislators and their constituents recognize that Social Security as a social insurance program and private equity investment are two different tracks that should always remain separate.

Having spent my career as a financial accountant primarily on Wall Street, partial privatization of Social Security would incur vast start-up and administrative costs; complicate a system that most Americans already don't fully understand; weaken the current transfer system to its various beneficiaries; subject the system to possible favoritism, error, or fraud; and create investment "winners and losers."

Legislators and presidential candidates should consider other options. For example: A person paying the maximum Social Security payroll tax in a calendar year would lose future insurance benefits for that year. However, that person would gain the opportunity to invest additional Individual Retirement Account money the next calendar year and claim an immediate tax return deduction. Over time, people paying the maximum payroll tax would still be paying into the system, but upon retirement would receive increased benefits of private investing in lieu of full "social insurance."

It seems as though everyone would be a winner: current and future Social Security recipients, investors, the government, and Wall Street.

Craig Kaiser Redding, Calif.

Mexican economy not a success

In your June 14 editorial "Mexico as No. 1," you claim that Mexican economic policies are a success. I believe most Mexicans would disagree. According to INEGI (the Mexican government's own statistical agency), real wages for Mexicans have declined by one- fourth, and the number of Mexicans living in poverty has increased by 4 million just since the beginning of NAFTA.

Moreover, the social discontent generated by this impoverishment has led to a growing domestic role for the Mexican military. …

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