The implosion of financial titans of Wall Street over the past week lays bare the ugly truth about privatizing Social Security: It’s a fundamentally bad idea.
I don’t know about you, but I’m neither a financial planner nor an investment strategist. And yet, since the mid-1980s when I began saving for retirement, I’ve been forced to play one at home with my 401K investments. Yes, I’m incredibly fortunate to have been saving that long. No question. But from the beginning, it’s been me, myself, and I directing where those precious retirement dollars are invested. (Talk about risk!)
Next month will be a scary one, and I’m not talking about Halloween. Around the first week of October, I should start receiving my 3rd quarter statements for my 401Ks. Given the market’s roller coaster response to the bailouts, closures and consolidation, I’m expecting the pages to jump from the envelopes with a resounding BOO.
Can you imagine all of the folks depending on Social Security suddenly coming up short because their Social Security investments went sour?
Social Security is the bedrock of retirement and must be protected.
Where from here?
Because I live in Washington, I want you to know where the presidential candidates stand on Social Security.
[Note: I was unable to find statements on John McCain's official Web site regarding Social Security. Here's what CNN said about his positions.]
McCain advocates supplementing Social Security benefits with individual investment accounts. He prefers slowing the growth benefits to raising taxes. When asked about Social Security during a GOP debate, he stated: “Every man, woman and child in America needs to know it’s going broke, and we’ve got to do the hard things. We’ve got to fix it for the future generations of Americans… It’s got to be bipartisan. And you have to go to the American people and say we won’t raise your taxes. We need personal savings accounts, but we [have] to fix this system.”
Barack Obama [From his official Web site.]
“Obama is committed to ensuring Social Security is solvent and viable for the American people, now and in the future. Obama will be honest with the American people about the long-term solvency of Social Security and the ways we can address the shortfall. He will work with members of Congress from both parties to strengthen Social Security and prevent privatization while protecting middle class families from tax increases or benefit cuts. As part of a bipartisan plan that would be phased in over many years, he would ask those making over $250,000 to contribute a bit more to Social Security to keep it sound.”
I don’t know about you, but I don’t have 10+ houses or family wealth worth millions to fall back on when I retire. I’m depending on me and the few dollars I’ve been able to scrape together over the years to get me through. I need that bedrock of Social Security to be there and be square when the time comes.