Social Security is Healthy and Successful

-by Ron Watson

At 31 years of age, I have already benefited from the Social Security program. My father died when I was 3 years old. Like most women at the time, my mother was a housewife. My father's death was an unforeseen horror for my mother; the unthinkable. They had planned for this worst case scenario, and life insurance allowed my family to keep our house. Social Security was a major factor in my mother and my ability to keep our home and in aiding my mother's transition from housewife to bread winner. It continued to ensure our security despite recession, occupation changes, and illness, until my eighteenth birthday. My mother died a month after my 19th birthday. I was the first person on either side of my family to go away to college.

I understand the importance of the Social Security program to young people, which is why I am so frustrated with the current administrations plans to privatize it. Those peddling privatization of this hugely successful program that has helped millions of Americans are trying to compare apples to oranges when they compare Social Security to an investment.

Social Security is insurance, it is not an investment . It is a guarantee of security to the aged and the young, it is not about making money. It is about keeping families afloat when the unthinkable happens and making sure that the elderly have a minimum standard of living. We already have 401Ks, 3 different IRAs, mutual funds and a host of other investment opportunities. Why do we need to sacrifice the only guaranteed insurance policy that the government has in order to create, what is essentially another IRA?

Privatization, the word that you will not hear from those peddling it, does nothing to secure retirement, or to secure the well being of families from the unthinkable. The only thing it secures is early retirement for corporate executives. Privatization is an investment. Investments involve risk, and are, by nature, insecure. They are even more insecure today with all of the corporate scandals and investment fraud. What does privatization have to offer the young? Debt and insecurity. $2 trillion in debt and a lifetime spent hoping that the market is trending up during your retirement. It doesn't sound like such a good deal in those terms, does it?

Adjustments to Social Security are fairly common, happening every 10-20 years. As of now, this highly successful program is solvent through 2052 according to recent estimates from our government. That is 48 years of seniors and families such as mine, getting full benefits! Sounds pretty healthy to me.

Social Security is so healthy that it has been robbed to pay for government excess for years. In fact, this whole privatization scheme has been cooked up to hide the fact that Social Security has been propping up our budgets for a long time, and that it is the government itself that is not solvent. They have been robbing the Social Security trust fund, the People's money, held in trust for the unthinkable and the future, and using it to fund their pork and bad policy.

We need to protect Social Security from this privatization scheme. It is bad for America.

If you found this interview useful, please consider donating to our Winter Fund Drive.

Ron Watson
Hagerstown, MD

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