Since The Star raised the issue again in its recent editorial (3/28, Opinion, “Social Security, Medicare need fundamental reform”), let’s review the situation.
Bush did try to make Social Security reform a key legislative initiative, but the Democrats would not negotiate unless funding of individual accounts by workers was off the table, calling it “privatization.”
The real issue, however, is that diverting some funds to individual accounts would decrease the cash flow to fund the promises made to the retired generation. Young people backing Barack Obama should get him on the dime on this issue.
It’s simple. The only way to fund entitlements is to tax younger workers. It’s like a Ponzi scheme. Raising the income level on which taxes are paid, while alleviating the cash flow problem now, only postpones it to a later time when it may be even more acute.
Medicare is more problematic. If young people remain apathetic or do not hold their standard-bearers to some promises, they will pay the price, as politicians will pander to the largest voting bloc.
I do not see any evidence that either party plans to address this issue, although John McCain has shown a tendency to reach across the aisle on big issues.
Open letter to Social Security and the future president: I wish to withdraw from the Social Security system. You may keep everything I have contributed to Social Security for the last 20 years (since the age of 15).
Even though it’s my money, I will not complain about how it’s spent or to what unrelated government program “borrows” it. I would instead prefer to invest my money into a profitable, reliable retirement system of my choosing that will actually be available to me when I retire.
If you grant me this personal financial freedom — which should already be granted to every American — to do with my money set aside for my retirement what I wish, then I promise not to petition, litigate or count on the U.S. government in any way shape or form for any type of return or assistance in the future for any reason.