Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Bush on Social Security

I find it extremely interesting, and not in a good way, that with every other major problem afflicting the American people here in May of 2005 (think the economy, gas prices, Aghanistan, Iraq, etc.) that President Bush - when he's not vacationing - is still traveling around the country stumping for his proposed "reforms" to Social Security which are flatly opposed by a majority of the public.

Okay, let's forget for a moment that only 33% of the American people currently believe in the plan (a huge decrease since it was first unveiled). And let's forget for a moment that most people, if given the opportunity, would rather NOT have to be responsible for their own financial investments. And we still have the following single largest problem: most people are not *qualified* to make their own financial investment decisions. And if they try and fail at it, then what? In a nutshell: they're screwed. Exactly the outcome Social Security was implemented to prevent in the first place. That no person, even through fault of their own, would be left out in the cold when they came across financial hardship in their later years.

The general population are not financial planners and do not have the wherewithall to keep track of the best and worst investments, know when to buy, when to sell and when to hold. Nor do they have the time to concentrate on these things. And least of all, do they now need the added lifelong stress of worrying about the validity of their Social Security decisions. This is what professionals are for. That's why you see a doctor when you need an operation and a lawyer when you need to go to court. That's their job - and they're better at it than you.

Sure, you can say that everyone is qualified to do what they will with their own money, but that's not the point here. The point is that we're taking a system whose health is dependent on decisions of professional financial planners, and we're putting that (or a piece of it anyway) into the hands of the general public. And this same general public is saying "No Thanks" in a very loud and clear voice. But their voice is being ignored. Why?

This plan may make sense for those who already have financial planners, or those who don't need Social Security in the first place - but then, shouldn't that be raising eyebrows and questions?

So what doesn't our President get? 67% of the American population are convicted enough to say "No, this is a bad idea" and yet our President who claimed his 52% election victory was a "mandate" of the people is either too stupid to understand that 67% is an even larger mandate or too stubborn to understand that his continued march forward on an issue that does not have public support does not reflect the wishes of the people he vowed to protect.

Or maybe it simply reflects the underlying theme of politics in Washington today: When you agree with me, you're right. When you disagree with me, you obviously need me to make your decisions for you...



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