Letter to the Editor

Bush plan would create insecurity

Saturday, February 5, 2005

To the editor:

If government will not be able to pay full scheduled Social Security benefits using all of the new payroll tax dollars, how would it help to divert a portion into private accounts? Some young people under the new system might indeed benefit upon their distant retirements. But what about longtime participants under the current system, millions of whose lives would be destroyed without Social Security?

Government could fund the transition by borrowing -- perhaps $2 trillion in just the first 10 years under President Bush's plan. But such massive borrowing comes with huge costs and poses tremendous danger to the economy. And it will ultimately burden those young people with massive government debt while probably hurting investment returns for everyone.

President Bush effectively used the Social Security surpluses to fund income-tax cuts going far disproportionately to the wealthiest individuals, while funding increased government spending with borrowed money. The national debt -- the cumulative result of over 200 years of government borrowing -- is up an incredible 33 percent under Bush. And he would make those tax cuts permanent while having us borrow many more trillions over decades to come to finance the transition.

Given Bush's fiscal irresponsibility, why should longtime participants trust that a government that will be mired in massive debt will somehow pay promised benefits after tax dollars that were supposed to pay those benefits are diverted into private accounts?

DAVID J. ROBERTS, Associate Professor of Accountancy, DePaul University, Chicago