Talking Points vs. Lucid Reasoning

A letter to the editor of the Orlando Sentinel spews Dubya's talking points about the supposed superiority of Social Security privatization accounts. The rebuttal to that letter is right on the money and obviously written someone with gray matter in their skull as opposed to Dubya mush.

The original letter:
Bush's plan best

If the polls are correct, it is hard to believe that most Americans do not want more money for retirement or to have control of their investments.

President Bush's Social Security reform is the best idea that has been recommended since Social Security was initiated. Here are some important facts that everyone should consider:

The return on your Social Security taxes is 1 percent at best, and you have to live to retirement to receive it. The return on a small percentage of your Social Security taxes invested in mutual funds would be between 3 percent and 10 percent. The funds could be invested in bank CDs and would earn about 3 percent to 4 percent.

These investments in personal accounts would be accessible to the worker at retirement or to their family upon the death of the worker. If a worker dies before retirement in the present Social Security system, the Social Security taxes are kept by the government.

Today's Social Security system is known as the world's largest Ponzi scheme; the first enrollees get paid by the funds contributed by later enrollees.

Yes, there is a cost for the conversion to the new system. As the old saying goes, "Pay me now or pay me later." The government will have to pay the cost of the changeover now or pay a larger amount to cover the cost of benefits to retirees later.

Do not believe the propaganda of AARP and the Democrats. They believe government is the answer to every problem, and you are not smart enough to plan for your own future and the future of your family.

Harry Paddon

Lady Lake
Missing the point

Harry Paddon's Monday letter to the editor on Social Security privatization echoes Republican talking points quite nicely. Sadly, such points miss the point.

Social Security is social insurance, not an investment scheme. Less than two-thirds of Social Security payments are made to retirees; significant amounts are paid to children, surviving spouses and the disabled. The purpose of these insurances is to prevent destitution in the event of tragedy or old age.

It was founded as a reaction to the misery of millions, and it intentionally includes a generational compact: We all pay a little bit as we work, and we all receive benefits when we get old, or (God forbid) are struck with disabling illness or injury, or lose a family member we depended upon. Now, if Republicans want to debate the wisdom of these intentions, I say great, let the battle be joined.

Instead we are deluged with gobbledygook about "investment returns." It's hogwash. The simple facts are, if the economy performs as well as privatization backers contend when they invent their estimates of stock returns, Social Security will never go insolvent, period. Alternately, if the economy does so poorly that Social Security is at risk of exhausting its trust fund, then the last place you want your money is the stock market.

Gregory M. Shimkaveg

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