Saturday, December 11, 2004

Paul Krugman has felt the need to reappear on the op/ed page of the NY Times, despite his earlier leave for vacation. It appears as if he couldn't stand by idle anymore while Bush put forth inaccuracies and distortions about Social Security reform. Krugman lucidly makes the case that Social Security is not in anyway facing the catastrophic danger that Bush would have us believe. Yes, SS faces trouble down the road, but nothing that couldn't be remedied with some minor changes -- most of which are long overdue and make sense.

Some examples? From the Nov. 29 issue of The New Republic:
According to Alice Rivlin, who ran Bill Clinton’s Office of Management and Budget, “In regards to Social Security, there are several points to get across. One is that it’s a fixable problem, not a monster. A small amount of additional revenue and modest benefit cuts will solve the problem for a good long time.” One possible cut could come from a slight increase in the retirement age to adjust for increases in life expectancy. Another could come from raising the maximum income level at which the Social Security deduction is imposed ($87,000 in 2003). Additional revenue could be gained by incorporating some 4 million state and local government workers who are currently excluded from Social Security into the system. According to a study by Orzsag and Peter Diamond, an economics professor at MIT, these steps would go a long way toward resolving the Social Security gap that will emerge over the next few decades as baby boomers retire.
And this list doesn't include means testing (why should multi-millionaires receive such paltry monthly checks, that mean very little to them? (I'm not speaking for them, many of stated such publicly when this topic arises)). I think first and foremost the retirement age MUST be adjusted up; life expectancy has increased by 13%, or 9 years, since 1950 and yet thanks to gutless politicians, the age cutoff remains stagnant. A bump up of just one or two years would make a huge difference.

Bush is disingenuously straining to incite alarm in the public with the aim being it will then be easier to pass his pro-corporate solutions to the SS problem. Never mind the fact that his proposed fix is a disaster, hoisting tons more debt on an existing ballooning deficit and the private measures already proven to be dire in other countries who have tried something similar. As per usual, he doesn't care, and it will be just another mistake for our children to bear.

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