May 4, 2005

Social Security Reform Debate: Hypocrisy, Misinformation & Why Change is Necessary

As you continue to listen to leading politicians debate the merits of Social Security reform, consider the points raised in this editorial.

The Left strongly opposes Americans controlling their own retirement funds through personal accounts...

Three million federal employees, including members of Congress, invest pre-tax dollars into personal retirement accounts, which they control. Instead of Social Security, federal employees use the [Thrift Savings Plan] TSP, which allows them to allocate their retirement investments among five options, any of which beats Social Security's meager two to three-percent return. TSP 10-year average returns range from 5.45 percent for the international stock index fund to 11.99 percent for the domestic stock-index fund.

Individually owned, privately invested accounts yield greater retirement security: TSP proves it. So why does Senator Kennedy want to deny workers the same ownership rights and higher returns that he enjoys? Because he knows such ownership will change people's policy preferences. If the value of retirement nest eggs were tightly linked to individual earnings and long-term stock-market performance, people would demand a freer economy to pump up economic growth and stock performance. Freer markets deflate Big Government, which threatens the Left but freer markets pay off handsomely for the individual...

Ownership motivates people to think long term and to maximize the value of their assets. People act differently with borrowed goods than with owned goods; nobody washes a rental car, for instance. But the Left wants to keep working Americans in the Social Security rental car precisely because they know people tolerate more government when ownership rights are restricted. The Left views private retirement accounts as the biggest threat to Big Government since Ronald Reagan. And they are right.

That's the real reason Senator Kennedy is fighting to stop ordinary Americans from having the same ownership rights over retirement funds that he has.

Here are some websites of organizations supporting social security reform:

National Center for Policy Analysis
Cato Institute Project on Social Security Reform
Heritage Foundation
Institute for Policy Innovation
Social Security Choice, a project of The Club for Growth
Freedom Works/Citizens for a Sound Economy

Here are some specific articles:

David Hogberg on Music to Reformist Ears

Be Not Afraid: Social Security reform is no radical idea

James Glassman on A Battle over Likes, Not Numbers

Peter Ferrara on AARP's Agenda

The Heartland Institute on 'Transition Costs' for Social Security Reform an Illusion

Stephen Moore on Two Financial Futures for Social Security

Alan Reynolds on Myths About Social Security

Various editorials by Free Enterprise Fund

Donald Luskin on Call it a "Lockbox!"

James Glassman on Hypocrisy From AARP on Social Security

Dan Balz on Social Security Stance Risky, Democrats Told

Brendan Miniter on The Democrats' welfare-reform pitfall has lessons for the GOP on Social Security

Star Parker on Why is the NAACP against Social Security reform?

Lisa De Pasquale on NOW is on the Wrong Side of the Social Security Debate

Peter Ferrara on Social Security Sellout

Jamie Dettmer on Social Security Reform

Tod Lindberg on Shaping the debate on Social Security Reform