Thursday, February 17, 2005

Insuring America (by TNR editors)

Unlike the Economist's call for privatization (see also the post in the Washington Monthly), The New Republic has a great endorsement of the liberalism of the Social Security:

With the possible exception of the military, Social Security is the government enterprise most responsible for ensuring that the United States remains a liberal, democratic, and capitalist country. Abandon the program's core social insurance function, which is the practical goal of privatization, and you would have a society that neither Democrats nor Republicans would much want to live in.


Last week, The Washington Post released a poll suggesting that the vast majority of people 55 and older not only oppose Bush's privatization plan, they do so knowing full well it wouldn't affect them one way or the other ... As people get older, the nightmare of having to live out their retirement in poverty becomes vivid, and they become more sympathetic to those who might suffer this fate even if it isn't likely to happen to them. If there's a better illustration of what makes a liberal society function, we are not aware of it.

I think people have been ignoring the fact the Social Security is an insurance program--my two year old niece has gotten SS payments since my brother-in-law past away. What is the "ownership society" answer to situations like that and the 15% of SS payments going out to those who cannot work due to disability? Don't we want a compassionate society?

The criticisms of Bush's SS privatization are well known. If the right wants to use values, let them. We have the moral high ground on this one. And there's no need to be shy about it.



At February 18, 2005 2:24 PM, Blogger Marie said...

This is a great article, bringing up the point of who this will hurt and also when. The tough question is how to get young people on the side of reason - when foresight is often tough. Relating the effects of privitization to young people in a personal way is essential.

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