Many people worry about the future, which, of course, is natural. Concerns over obtaining a job, getting health insurance, staying healthy and finding safe environments to raise their children are on the minds of many people, including college students.
Another future concern, which has garnered controversy these past weeks following President Bush’s reelection, is the future of Social Security. While we college students are nowhere near the retirement age, many of our parents are, and we will soon enter the workforce and pay for their Social Security checks.
The transition between generations will not be as smooth as those in the past, unfortunately. Simply put, Social Security is in trouble. There is no “lockbox” or vault in Washington filled with Social Security money because it is a “pay-as-you-go” system. Taxes collected by the government are immediately spent, with any surplus going to a treasury fund which both Democrats and Republicans have methodically looted.
To make matters worse, the number of retirees dependent on the system is growing and the number of workers is shrinking, making benefits difficult to ensure for future generations. Right now, according to the Social Security Administration, 3.3 workers support one retiree, but by 2031 the ratio will be 2.1 to one.
Over the next 25 years the elderly population in will rise from 37 million to 71 million people and by the time our generation retires in the 2040s, benefits will be significantly reduced by 27 percent.
Considering the fact that many seniors rely on Social Security payments as their primary source of income, neglecting Social Security is a risk we cannot afford to take.
Bush has decided to tackle this issue head-on with a market-based solution. His still unspecified plan allows workers (if they so choose) to invest a percentage of their Social Security contribution to a private account to generate interest.
I think this is a great idea. The way to increase prosperity across economic lines is to strengthen the economy by putting money back in the hands of the people in which it belongs.
By giving people more control over their own tax dollars with federal guidelines to prevent risky investing, I am convinced that we will begin to balance the system and solve the impending threat.
In a frightfully predictable manner, the Democratic Party once again attempted to stonewall the president’s plan and neglected to mention a better competing offer. The lack of a cohesive or non-contradictory plan caused them to lose the last election, but that fact does not seem to be getting through.
All Democrats seem to do is try to scare people by throwing around the big, bad word “privatization,” like they do when it comes to issues such as education and healthcare.
True to their elitist socialist rhetoric, Democrats on Capitol Hill have decided to put themselves between the financial empowerment of the American people because, in their thinking, the American people cannot be trusted with their own money.They need government to spend it for them.
In a futile effort to regain the spotlight, Democratic politicians have been stating that there is no crisis. Although they are correct to point out that the shortages will not occur for another 40 years, they do not seem to be concerned with fixing the problem now. They are instead content to leave this problem for future administrations, much like they accused Bush of doing regarding budget deficits!
Senators like Ted Kennedy and Barbara Boxer have been leading the “Bush is a Liar” anti-Social Security reform charge. Conveniently, they seem to forget their own words from 1998 to 1999 when they both stood with President Clinton and reinforced his insistence that we “Save Social Security First.” But suddenly, when a Republican is in the White House, Social Security is not a problem at all.
The only excuse I can provide for this rank hypocrisy is that the Democratic Party is in trouble. Having lost its hold on government and its support among many of the American people, it now desperately clings to its last traditionally Democratic issue, Social Security.
The Republicans have reformed troubled institutions like education, healthcare and now Social Security, inserting their ideas into these arenas and winning people over to their side.
Whether No Child Left Behind, the senior citizen prescription plan and tort reform and Bush’s Social Security reforms are the right choices will always be up for discussion and should be debated, but the opposition has yet to wake up to the reality that issues like education and Social Security are actually in need of serious reform.
While he has been far from a perfect leader and less than popular with many circles, Bush has aggressively endeavored to solve many of America’s problems and that’s more than many politicians can say. We need to look past the political hype and take action on key concerns that will definitely affect our futures.