Editor, As I watch the financial crisis unfold further this week with firms like Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and AIG getting into trouble, and the market as a whole dropping, I find it interesting that the media has not focused on a major what-if: Social Security privatization.
One of the major priorities of the Bush-McCain-Kingston platform in 2004 was privatizing Social Security. In fact, Rep. Kingston was described by the Washington Post as “the party’s point man on the issue” in 2005.
Luckily, cooler and more responsible heads prevailed and the issue died. But, what if they had succeeded in privatizing Social Security? How much would you and I have lost in this recent downturn? If you are nearing retirement, would you have had to work longer? If you are retired, would your benefits have decreased?
Odds are that it would have created a massive crisis that would have been very difficult and costly to resolve. This push to privatize Social Security was based on greed and connections to special interests and not on the threat of insolvency.
As evidenced by the recent market turmoil, Social Security is best left out of the market and in safer hands. At a town-hall meeting back in 2005, Kingston said, “If I continue to represent you, I’ll be back to talk more about Social Security.”
Let’s learn from this history lesson and not give him the chance.