A couple months ago, I came to the conclusion that if I could ask Barack Obama one question, it would be regarding Social Security. Why, I would ask, would someone who claims to be the candidate of change and of the younger generation be against privatizing Social Security? What is it about the current system that he likes? Is it its lack of fairness? Is it the meager returns? Does he get off on the fact that the government can take away 6% of someone’s paycheck without them being able to do anything about it? Maybe he is looking forward to the rush he will get as president by keeping our country on the financial edge with huge unfunded federal mandates. Whatever his reason, he is wrong and it is an outrage
To help liberals understand the outrage, your views on Social Security and economics in general are as absurd to capitalists as the notion of a 6000 year old earth would be to Richard Dawkins. All the arguments in favor of a slow and measured privatization of Social Security have already been made – from the acknowledgment that Social Security is a pyramid scheme, to the knowledge that you would do better putting that money into a modest yielding savings account, added to the fact that I have never meant anyone under 30 who believes they will ever collect Social Security – the arguments are infallible and undeniable.
However, the worst aspect of this issue is the hypocrisy. The Democrats and their freedom-hating allies who oppose privatization are quick to use fearmongering to discourage people from supporting a new system. They use lines like, “what if the stock market crashes the day before you retire” and “how will the average person be able to figure it all out?” These same merchants of fear, however, universally invest in the stock market. It is a classic do as I say not as I do scenario.
This issue has come to the forefront of the debate in the last week or so with all the turmoil in the stock market. Obama, commenting on the current situation said, “If my opponent had his way, the millions of Floridians who rely on it would have had their Social Security tied up in the stock market this week … millions would've watched as the market tumbled and their nest egg disappeared before their eyes.” His comments are a distortion of what privatization is really all about. People’s nest eggs should be fine if they are investing with any sort of caution. It doesn’t mean there aren’t ups and downs, but they should not have lost everything or anything close to that.
Not to mention, the privatization President Bush and John McCain have favored is optional. Under this scenario, no one would be forced into the new system . However, if you did make that choice, you wouldn’t have to invest all of your money in volatile stocks. Everyone who is conscious and can put two ideas together knows you invest more aggressively when you first start out and are young, and as you get older and closer to retirement you move to safer investments, like bonds. Obama, who is 270 electoral votes away from being president and having the codes to the nuclear bombs, apparently doesn’t know that.
Biden added to Obama’s fear tactics by saying, “imagine if your mother or father's Social Security were invested in the stock market.” Now I want you to imagine something. Imagine being rich by Obama’s standard (as Biden is since he makes more than $250,000 a year), giving none of it to charity, and having a net worth of less than $150,000. Having an economic record like that would be embarrassing and would make you unqualified to make any comments regarding investment or retirement. Believe it or not, those are exactly Biden’s current economic conditions. So of course Biden would be against privatization, he seems entirely against the concept of investing.
Obama acts as if the idea of privatization is a gamble or a gimmick, but he is completely wrong. There are 50 million American’s with 401k plans – most of whom, it is safe to say, are not experts in the stock market. The fact that so many Americans feel that Social Security is inadequate enough to warrant them investing a significant amount of their paycheck into a second retirement system should say it all. Have these people been duped by Bush and McCain into investing in a doomed system? Are they destined to meals consisting of dog food and bread when the stock market crashes the day before they retire? These are not reasonable arguments, they are fear tactics.
Some say we already have the choice to invest privately and those who choose to do so should do it without attempting to reform the current system. To those critics, one must point out the fact that efficiency matters. Why invest the 10% of my income on retirement when I can get by on investing just 6%. That difference can make quite an impact on many families' standard of living. This is something that should resonate with Obama.
If you want to have Obama, or Bush, or McCain, or Clinton run your retirement, that is your prerogative. However, if people want to make their own choices regarding retirement, then that should be between them, their families, and their financial advisors; it is not the business of Barack Obama, Jack Cafferty, the AARP or any other special interest group.
The only reason one can conjure for any political party so ardently opposing privatization is that they believe they have more to gain by having people dependent on the state. They favor a Big Brother system that is non-optional as opposed to a self-sufficient system where people are empowered to take care of themselves. They know that as long as a certain percentage of the population are dependent on the government, they will have those votes in the bag. That is statism. It is not hope. It is not change. It isn’t above partisan politics. It is creepy and it is wrong.
As a biracial 25-year-old, who grew up in a middle-class home, I have hope that one day I will be able invest and plan for my retirement the way I see fit, without having my future decided by a bunch of bureaucrats in Washington. I don’t trust the government's ability to plan my retirement, and I would rather they got out of the way and let me do it myself. Unfortunately for me, one man’s hope is another man’s audacity of freedom.