Social Security

Just wondering what you think about Bush’s personal account proposal in conjunction with Social security reform. I think it’s an interesting issue because it’ll eventually affect everyone and even those I know who are under 40 and strongly dislike Bush are all for having more personal control of their retirement $$’s. I think regardless of your political inclinations, the vast majority of people now trust their own decision making over the government’s. Despite this, I'm fairly certain they'd oppose whatever Dubya throws out simply because he proposed it. This sentiment is highly visible in the differences in how the media handled Clinton's efforts of reform and Bush's current proposals -- even though they're both based on the work of Democrat Patrick Moynihan. Are there valid arguments against working on reform now or is it just political posturing?


Joe said...

As I understand it, the personal accounts, which are more or less mutual funds, would have to perform at a 3% or better annual return rate in order to be more lucrative than the current SS benefit. Is that likely? I don't know, cause I don't know shit about finance. It seems like someone should have the answer to that, though.

I'm not opposed to reform on principle (although I believe that conservative ideology is behind Bush's push). Frankly, if personal accounts work better, fine. Or, maybe we should consider raising the retirement age. It's an empirical matter. Whatever works best, do it. I like the idea of making sure that current available benefits are still guaranteed for those who don't want to invest, but leaving the option open for those who do.

Basically, since I don't really know what to do, I don't really care, but I know that I'd like to be able to retire someday.

Andrew said...

Actually the proposed personal account plan would be nearly identical to the (http://www.armedforcesnews.com/FreeInfo/TSP_1_of_6.html) Thrift Savings Plan which is currently available to all Federal, Postal and armed forces personnel. The thrift savings plan only allows investment into three funds: one comprised entirely of Government T-Bills, one which is a mix of government and corporate bonds, and an index fund tracking the SP500. All three of these options, including the T-Bills which are considered risk free(http://www.fool.com/ddow/2000/ddow000524.htm”) comfortably exceeded 3% since 1926. During this period T-Bills grew at an average 3.7%, corporate bonds at 5.7% and SP 500 stocks at 11.2% -- Not a high bar for any personal accounts plan to clear.