Social Security on table at Southeast conference

Friday, February 11, 2005

An official with the Social Security Administration will discuss the program Feb. 18 at the university.

Southeast Missourian

President Bush isn't the only one talking about Social Security.

A key official with the Social Security Administration will discuss the government retirement program at a conference on Feb. 18 at Southeast Missouri State University.

William DeBardelaben, regional communications director for the Atlanta region of the Social Security Administration, will be the keynote speaker.

The conference is scheduled for 10 a.m. to noon in Dempster Hall's Glenn Auditorium. School officials said the conference is free and open to the public. It's sponsored by the Center for Economic and Business Research at Southeast in conjunction with the department of economics and finance.

DeBardelaben is responsible for advancing the agency's efforts in eight Southern states to educate the public about Social Security.

The conference also will include a panel discussion on whether it's feasible to privatize Social Security as the Bush administration has proposed.

Participants in the panel discussion include Kenneth Pemberton, investment counselor with Edward Jones; Ian Breunig, a recent Southeast graduate in economics; Dr. Michael Devaney, finance professor at Southeast; and Dr. Bruce Domazlicky, panel moderator and director of the Center for Economic and Business Research at Southeast.

Devaney said Social Security remains a key security net for elderly Americans. "If you took away Social Security right now about 50 percent of all elderly would fall below the poverty line," he said.

There's risk to allowing Americans to invest some of their Social Security benefits in stocks and bonds. "But generally I think the risk is manageable if you can direct people into a broad-based stock and bond funds," Devaney said.

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