Thursday, December 30, 2004

Social Security Reform: Watch the birdie

I don't usually comment on health care finance issues. But an interesting post by Angry Bear (an economist) prompts this observation.

First, the post points out convincingly that the alleged Social Security crisis is just that, alleged, and the case isn't very convincing (but read the post and decide for yourself).

Second, Social Security is a public insurance scheme. Private insurance companies aren't really "insurance companies," they are banks. They take in a great deal of money in premiums for one purpose only, to invest it and make more money. In phraseology I used earlier about chemicals, an insurance policy is a dollar's way of making another dollar.

Third, the hullaballoo about Social Security is about something that might happen in fifty years. As Angry Bear observes:
Of course, in 50 years, we'll all have personal flying devices and robot vacuum cleaners. In the meantime, there are real problems to worry about: nuclear proliferation, global terrorism, the declining dollar, jobs, and the massive general fund deficits.
The infamous Republican pollster/spinmeister Frank Luntz advised his patrons, "Your plan must be put in terms of the future, not the present."

This seems especially pertinent when the present looks like this present. (Hat tip, Al, for Angry Bear post; and Environmental Working Group for Luntz memo).