Friday, October 10, 2008

Ideas Lost to History II

Here's another idea you don't hear too much about any more: privatizing Social Security.

Back in the halcyon days of 2004-5, a then-newly re-elected President Bush claimed that he would spend his political capital to expand the "ownership society" to allow people to invest some, or perhaps all, of their Social Security accounts into the stock market.

As we know, Social Security is currently underfunded, but even with no reforms it would remain solvent through 2041 (with recipients receiving 78% of scheduled benefits that year.)

Today's stock market would have much more damaging effects for a hypothetical private Social Security account.

Of course, with the US Government's ownership of stakes in AIG and now, perhaps investing equity into a number of US banks, one might argue that the privatization of 'Social Security' (which after all is a US Government obligation like any other one, notwithstanding the theoretical Social Security 'Trust Fund,') has been effected with lightning speed.

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