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Preserving Social Security

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Q.  What do you call someone who wants to preserve Social Security?

A.  A conservative.

con·ser·va·tive [2]   Audio pronunciation of "conservative" [3] P   Pronunciation Key [4]  (kn-s�rv-tv)
adj.

  1. Favoring traditional views and values; tending to oppose change.

() I don’t think social security is unfixable.  But why would you want to save it just for the sake of saving it?  Why would you want to preserve a program that is 70 years old that was put in place in the middle of the worst economic crisis in American history at a time when our standard of living was a fraction, maybe a tenth (!) of what it is now.  Isn’t it possible that it’s time for a different way to handle the risks of retirement?

The vehemence against the Bush plan fascinates me.  I’m not in love with it.  I don’t think the government should mandate savings.  But given the reaction of the chattering classes so far (and the best—or worst—is yet to come), you’d think he’d proposed mandatory child sacrices to Mayan gods.  My favorite so far was the New York Times article [5] of a couple Sundays ago with the headline: Life Before Social Security: ‘A Great Calamity Has Come Upon Us.’ 

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