Letters to the Editor - The Orlando Sentinel

Feel the pain

Mind you, normally I'm not a mean-spirited person. However, lately one of my fondest wishes is for George W. Bush to wind up a farthingless octogenarian totally dependent on Social Security.

Now that would be real and poetic justice!

Priscilla Black


Creating instability

President Bush, in his recent news conference, proposed radical change to the Social Security system. Such changes would create unknowns and instability, exactly the opposite of what Social Security is about.

The president's "fixes" -- privatization of the public Social Security Fund and indexing benefits based on income -- are fiscally irresponsible. The second "fix" is just a solution to a problem created by the first.

Our president wants to sink us deeper into debt, and pay for it with reduced benefits for the middle class. The truth is that Social Security is currently strong, with record surpluses that are increasing yearly, and that projections of insolvency are almost four decades into the future and therefore very uncertain. George W. Bush, by using scary talk about "collapse" and "bankruptcy," has chosen to confuse and divide us.

Alan Levi


Root of problem

Government spending of Social Security surpluses was begun by Lyndon Johnson in order to decrease the deficits incurred by the Vietnam War. Subsequent presidents continued this inappropriate sequestration. The fact remains that this program was intended to be funded on a pay-as-you-go basis. The ordinary annual surpluses used to range from $80 billion to $100 billion. In 2003, the surplus amounted to $165.5 billion. The estimate for 2004 is $150 billion. Some crisis!

If the Bush plan should become law, then billions of dollars shall fall into the hands of the brokerage houses. Cui Bono?

No one mentions the British example of private, oops, personal accounts that have been a disaster. Paeans to private vs. government management ignore the fact that the administrative cost of Social Security is slightly more than 1 percent, whereas private insurance firms average about 20 percent. For the working stiff, it is a fool's paradise to believe that he may gain, not lose, in view of the business cycle and of brokerage fees.

True reform must first prohibit government from diversion of these monies to other purposes. Second, the ceiling of $90,000 must be abolished so that millions earned (?) must also be taxed. Thus the present payroll taxes may be reduced to possibly 2 percent or 3 percent, but then the brokerage houses would lose the prospect of great profits.

Walter Tegnazian


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