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September 2, 2011

To Save Social Security

Joe Charlebois

If I could propose a way to make Social Security solvent and provide younger workers with a hybrid plan to encourage voluntary retirement plans, this is what I would proffer.







Sound reasonable? If so, you didn’t agree with my plan, but instead you just agreed with Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan’s “Roadmap” and the subsequent review of the plan by the Congressional Budget Office.


This is the only serious deficit reducing legislation that has been introduced this year and passed by the House of Representatives. It passed the House on April 15, 2011, and has gone no further.


Under this plan those 54 and under would experience significant changes; but, for those in their mid-forties such as myself, have no delusions or even reasonable expectations of receiving one penny from the Social Security Administration by retirement age if the current “kick the can down the road” mentality and political cowardice of the current legislative crop is not replaced with realistic and forward thinking ones.


My generation grew up with 401(k) plans, not pension plans. We realize what risk is. We know how to save. We know in order to be self sufficient in retirement that we need to save a certain percentage of our current income to live the life we want to live when we leave the workforce. We realize the up-and-down relation of our savings and the whims of the marketplace. We are already accustomed to it. We know how to counter the effects with conservative investing closer to retirement. Besides, those who put faith in pensions 40 years ago never thought they would vanish, did they?


We are a generation – for the most part – that doesn’t believe the government owes us anything. We realize that our Social Security payments don’t go into an actual trust for our future benefit but rather they are deposited into the general fund to pay for legislator’s pet projects.


When the president of the United States – and like thinking leftists – scream that safety net programs are being gutted, they are dead wrong. There is no true safety net but rather a system of transferring payments from those currently employed to those beneficiaries who are eligible to receive them.


What Congressman Ryan’s plan does is save some semblance of Social Security for my generation and the ones that follow. He doesn’t spout partisan rhetoric. Rather he is a man who attempts to present sound solutions to serious problems.


When the president did his tour of the Mid-West last month, he continually derided the broken political system of bickering and obfuscation. Well, Mr. President, you and the liberal left are the champions of bickering and obfuscation along with the uneducated main stream media that just parrots your party line. There has been no shortage of attacks on the only plan presented and passed by either body in Congress.


As stated by the review of the CBO, this plan provides that no one over the age of 55 in Mr. Ryan’s “Roadmap” will see any changes in Social Security.


Let’s be realistic. In order to save Social Security there has to be a change. Change is going to happen, just not the change promised in 2008.


*Source of information from Congressional Budget Office, January 27, 2011 letter to Paul Ryan, Committee on the Budget


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