A local MN citizen has written these profound words on Social Security reform which I have the honor of posting here tonight.
I "get it" -- unlike Senator Dayton and the others in the Democratic party crying fowl. The private accounts being proposed are no different than what most people have access to with respect to deferred comp and the various accounts they can put their defferred comp monies toward. People won't actually have the money in their hands to with as they want -- they will simply defer it through payroll deduction like is currently done -- only to a different account that will invest it as you choose. The options will be limited like they are through deferred comp. You have low risk options to more high risk options. It's that simple. I think our deferred comp plan has 5 options of varying risk levels. How complicated is that? What could possibly be wrong with workers actually owning their retirement accounts? It's our money -- let us have it!
But consider this. Welfare reform was a huge struggle too -- why? As you probably know, the federal government first authorized the Aid to Dependent Children (ADC) program under Title IV-A of the Social Security Act back in the '30s -- about the time Social Security was enacted. Times were tough back then -- ya, tougher than they are right now, Nancy Pelosi!! People had survived WWI, the depression, etc. The ADC program was started to aid widows and orphans -- widows whose husbands had been killed in WWI, leaving them to raise orphaned children with no income, resources and no ability to make a living. Back then, women didn't traditionally work out of the home, they didn't traditionally have ready access to educational opportunities, they didn't have access to reliable birth control (did reliable birth control even exist?), or abortion on-demand. Obviously times have changed because everything women didn't have back then, we have now. But our welfare programs essentially treat women like we are still back in the '30s -- poor, helpless, uneducated women with no opportunities available to them.
The same is true with Social Security. When that was enacted, the average worker didn't have access to saving for retirement, investing in their future, IRAs, deferred comp, 401Ks, etc. etc. But the average worker can or should have access to these investment opportunites now so why do we -- or our government -- feel compelled to continue to treat workers like workers of the '30s?
And another thing. Before the invention of government programs such as Social Security and welfare, people had to rely on their families in their old age -- elderly parents lived with their children until they died. The elderly weren't shuffled off to a nursing home because no one could afford such care. And if a women was widowed, or God forbid, she turned up pregnant and not married, she would have to turn to her family for help. Both the Social Security system and the welfare system essentially replaced the roll of the family. Once these goverment programs were in place, families gradually began to relinquish their traditional rolls of caring for one generation to the next, and for taking care of each other in financially difficult times, because they learned that the government would do it if the family didn't. From my perspective, this is, probably the saddest and most destructive aspect of these programs.
Again, times have changed. Opportunities have changed. But neither our welfare system, and especially the Social Security system, has kept up with the changing times. Reforming Social Security is overdue and I support the President's proposal wholeheartedly!! Paige Turner