Why Now?
Friday, December 17, 2004
  The Problem for Future Retirees

Future retirees are not going to be as well off as current retirees, but that has nothing to do with Social Security. When Enron went belly-up, nobody said "my Social Security vanished", it was their 401K private retirement accounts that became worthless. Now Bush wants to move people from the secure Social Security system into vulnerable private retirement accounts.

There is a looming crisis in the Federal program that oversees private pension funds, but there has been no action to deal with that problem. A large number of private pensions are under-funded because corporations are managing them badly, failing to fund them, or, in a few cases, looting them and they are going to need a bail out.

The taxpayers had to bail out the savings & loan industry because they weren't properly regulated, several large mutual funds were caught padding profits while screwing investors, the Feds have had to bail out failed banks, and the list goes on. Social Security was started because the private sector did such a miserable job that thousands of the elderly were being left destitute.

At Bush's economic summit there were no representatives of labor or consumers, so who do you think is going to benefit from the changes? They are talking about taking your Social Security payments and giving it to private business interests to manage. Since you had no representatives at the table, who do you think is going to make money? Are you willing to bet your future on the honesty and integrity of corporate America given its record? If he can't even manage to spell "challenges" when he uses it in his title, how can you expect him to meet them?

They also discussed tort reform, but failed to mention that the bulk of civil suits are filed by businesses, not individuals, yet their plans only want to limit the awards that individuals receive from corporations. Look at the children who were sued for down-loading songs from the Internet - Bush's group wouldn't consider those suits "frivolous". Frivolous lawsuits are those filed when a doctor amputates the wrong foot, when people die from inhaling asbestos fibers, when wheels fall off two-year-old cars, when people are incinerated in a 30MPH rear end collision.

If what Bush was going to do was really going to benefit you, don't you think you would have been invited to the meeting so you could applaud?


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