Freedom Fry

Look at that freedom fry! A collection of political hotlinks and original articles.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Why Is Social Security a Political Issue?

6:05 PM

Why is Social Security a political issue? Economics is a hard science, or at least a fairly hard science. Either Social Security is solvent in the near and long term future or it isn't. If it isn't then we need to fix it. No one will argue with this.

So why, then, is George Bush politicizing this issue? Is this simply about Republicans wanting to save and invest their money as they see fit? Is the question, "Do we want Social Security at all?" If so, then George Bush should frame the issue this way. There are pros and cons to Social Security and it seems that the people should decide whether or not they want it. The benefits are clear, however. Not only does Social Security benefit people who wouldn't otherwise save money or who will lose their money in bad investments, but it benefits the rest of us by not having to pay these people public assistance when they retire without enough savings. In addition, Social Security has the benefit that it is paid out as long as the recipient lives, rather than running out when a finite bank account or investment is empty, if the person lives longer than they expected. Yes, the drawback is that it is a gamble: the recipient may not receive all the money they have put into the system, and they can't pass on the money.

Or perhaps it's that George Bush wants to benefit financially from his reforms. The brokers and financial houses that supported Republicans in 2004, overwhelmingly (Deloitte & Touche, Merrill Lynch, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, MBNA Corp., Wachovia Corp., and KPMG LLP all donated more than 70% of their political contributions to Republicans), are going to benefit from commissions, I assume.

Other than these two possibilities, I can't understand why these reforms would be political.


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