Indiana Daily Student

System needs complete reform

Houston, we have a problem."\n Millions of today's workers will have no other retirement income than what they will receive from Social Security. Today's workers know they must save and invest more than their parents did to maintain the same standard of living after retirement.\nBut Vice President Al Gore told the New York Times, "I say, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Shore it up the way we always have."\nSocial Security's rates of return have reached a critically low level. We need a presidential candidate brave enough to tackle the tough issues surrounding Social Security reform.\nHelp is on the way. Texas Gov. George W. Bush has a courageous plan for the future. Bush asserted, "Within two decades there simply won't be enough younger workers to pay the benefits earned by the old. If we do nothing to reform the system, the year 2037 will be the moment of financial collapse. The system will be insolvent … requiring either a massive cut in benefits or massive increase in taxes."\nBush's plan for Social Security reform\nModernization must include individually controlled, voluntary personal retirement accounts, which will augment the Social Security safety net. These accounts will earn higher rates of return, have parameters of safety and soundness, and help workers build wealth that can be passed on to their children.\n• Modernization must not change existing benefits for retirees or near-retirees.\n• The Social Security surplus must be locked away for Social Security only.\n• Social Security payroll taxes must not be increased.\n• The government must not invest Social Security funds in the stock market. It is your personal option as to whether you choose to invest your own money in the stock market.\n• Modernization must preserve the disability and survivors components.\nWe have a moral obligation to pay every penny in retirement benefits to current retirees.\nBush's plan gives our generation and our parents' generation better options. With George W. Bush as president, you will have the option of investing a small percent of your money in a private, safe and diversified stock.\nEven leading Democrats agree with Bush. Louisiana Sen. John Breaux told the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, "I believe we have moved the debate past the argument of whether there should be private investment to how private investment should be done."\nNebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey said, "So, done in the correct way, individual accounts can be enormously progressive and very, very helpful, especially for low-income workers, in accumulating their share of the American dream."\nAs college students, perhaps Gore should explain to us why he has opposed bipartisan efforts to reform Social Security, which will guarantee retirement benefits for our generation. Under the Gore approach, our future families will face a bankrupt Social Security system and massive tax increases.\nWhat is Gore's idea for Social Security reform? In May he called Bush's plan "stock-market roulette." In June, attempting to follow Bush's lead in the polls, Gore proposed "investing tax dollars in the stock market to secure people's retirement."\n"How many times will Al Gore change?" Bush asked. "He has an ever-changing Social Security vision. First, he wanted government to manage portfolios, then he said any investment in markets was unbelievably risky, now it's changed again. He must have taken a poll or a focus group. \n"The first objective should be to save and reform Social Security. I have a plan to do that. Al Gore has changed again," Bush added.\nGore should come out and tell us his real plan: Every American works until age 90 because the Social Security check they were counting on for retirement is never going to come. \nGive me a break!\nWho do you want spending your money? It is going to be either you or the government. Bush trusts you to spend your own money through investing in your future.\nAs a student at one of the best universities in the country, I know a good deal when I see one. \nI cannot rely on this failing system for my retirement - even my parents can't count on receiving their social security checks.\nIt is time for a change. Bush's plan finally tackles the tough issue of reforming our failing Social Security system.

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