Let's begin with the simple facts. The Social Security trust will begin paying out more in benefits than it collects in payroll taxes in 2018. At this point, the trust will have to cash in bonds (IOUs) that the government placed in the trust as it borrowed money from Social Security over the years. In 2032, the bonds will be totally spent. This is the future if we remain on the present path.
President Bush has proposed private accounts for younger workers. Democrats in Congress have proposed nothing but wait and see. When Social Security was conceived, there were 42 workers for every American collecting benefits. Today, there are only two. The current system is an anachronism of the Great Depression, ill-equipped for our aging nation. Americans at or nearing retirement should be promised their benefits. However, there is no reason that young workers should be forced into a government-run retirement system that consistently yields an investment return less than the market average.
Data shows that even during the worst economic times, the stock market has yielded a better return than government Social Security. This exemplifies sound fiscal policy and personal freedom. Liberals in Congress will resist anything that threatens the government's monopoly on retirement. The idea that all good things must flow from Uncle Sam is a liberal dogma tossed upon the trash heap of history.
A single brilliant American mind left unconstrained can do more good than the entire government bureaucracy working at peak capacity. The government did not invent the light bulb or develop the vaccine for polio. Government can achieve great things. However, it does not possess a monopoly on great things.
As Bill Clinton said, "the era of big government is over." Some in his party did not get the memo. The era of personal freedom has arrived.
Herbert A. Edney IV, Augusta
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