The Therapy Sessions
Wednesday, August 27, 2003
Social Security Myth Making
What ignorance flourishes on the pages of the Inquirer!
Protect Social Security
Gary M. Galles, in "Social Security really isn't all that secure," Commentary Page, Aug. 14, attempts to sell privatization of retirement funding.
Ask anyone if their parents would have survived their "golden" years if it weren't for Social Security. I turned 65 this year and am collecting nearly $1,600 per month after paying in (along with my employers) $133,000.
In addition, my wife began collecting nearly $800 per month, which gives us a combined Social Security income of $28,000 per year. That's not as much as a teacher or government worker receives, which is another issue unto itself, but it's a great safety net for most Americans who can barely cover current expenses, let alone provide for retirement.
American workers could no more predict the failure of industrial corporations to provide adequate retirement funding than they could the recent blackout. We rely on Social Security as a government social contract with the elderly, and those who would replace it with Wall Street-sponsored private plans are government bashers or just plain fools.
Witonsky makes a big deal about the $133,000 that he and his employer have contributed to Social Security. But do the math: at $1600 a month that big nest egg dwindles to zero in seven years. Do you think fair Mr. Witonsky will kick off at age 72, or do you think he continue to let the government pick up the tab?
Social Security has been voted in by people like Witonsky. His generation voted themselves lavish benefits but they have never found the means to pay for them. The assurance that the government would pay for their Golden Years has led them to spend money when they should have saved.
I, and my sons, will pick up the tab for these old folks. There will be no Social Security for me, and since I am aware of this fact, I do something called "saving money." Because bonds give crappy rates, I need to invest in stocks and hope for the best.
This is why I am all for private social security accounts. Social Security should not be guaranteed. It should provide a limited retirement benefit to people who qualify for it (a true safety net). Doing more tempts people to act unwisely and not save money.
Mr. Witonsky and his generation used the ballot box to steal from people who were not even born. My generation and my children don't even get a "thank you."