Monday, May 09, 2005

Social Security is a Losing Investment

Any time the New York Times comes out in defense of President Bush and attacks Democrats, it must be noted.

Calling Democrats' Bluff (Requires NYT Account)

By embracing the progressive indexing of Social Security benefits, the president has asked us to make a shared sacrifice for the common good. He's asking middle- and upper-class folks to accept benefit cuts so there will be money for the people who are really facing poverty.

So how has the St. Francis of Assisi wing of the Democratic Party responded to Bush's challenge? Does it applaud him for doing what it has spent the past years telling him he should do? Of course not.

The Democratic leadership has dropped all that shared sacrifice talk and started making demagogic appeals to people's narrow self-interest. Nancy Pelosi cries out that Bush's progressive indexing idea means "cutting the benefits of middle-class seniors." Representative Sander Levin protests it "would result in the biggest benefit cut in the history of Social Security."

This is what's infected the Tories in Britain, and it's infected the Democrats here. When a Republican president embraces progressive indexing, something big is happening. When the Democrats oppose it, you know their party has betrayed an animating ideal.

I am so used to blasting the New York Times that I had to do a double take when I saw this article. I, like many other under 40 Americans, have long written off Social Security as something that will never happen for me. I would prefer to just opt out of the program. I am forced to invest in a government sponsored pension program with a guaranteed negative return. Bush’s program will not free me from these financial bonds, but it is light years better than the status quo.

No matter what color ribbon you tie around Social Security, it’s a tax. It’s worse than a tax. It’s a tax disguised as something else. It is the essence of ‘Big Brother’. ‘We must take this portion of your property because we are looking out for you! Oh, by the way, you don’t get any.’ Do away with it. Short of that, at least let me have my own account and choose how to invest it.

In Sports:

Nats 3, Giants 4

Nats complete a successful West Coast trip taking 2 of 3 from both the Dodgers and Giants.