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Matthew Hoy currently works as a metro page designer at the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The opinions presented here do not represent those of the Union-Tribune and are solely those of the author.

If you have any opinions or comments, please e-mail the author at: hoystory -at- cox -dot- net.

Dec. 7, 2001
Christian Coalition Challenged
Hoystory interviews al Qaeda
Fisking Fritz
Politicizing Prescription Drugs

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Sunday, January 16, 2005
Hobgoblin, little minds: One of the more cynical definitions of "consistency" is that it is the hobgoblin of little minds and that the truly brilliant can hold innumerable, contradicting beliefs.

Well, that sort of attitude may give solace to the elite, but it's unsatisfying and downright dangerous when you're trying to create public policy -- or save Social Security.

The New York Times editorial page -- the leading light of the liberal left -- offers a solution to the Social Security non-problem:

Of course, no one is suggesting that no reforms be made. But modest, straightforward tax increases and benefit cuts, phased in over generations, are all it would take to bolster the current system.

Surprise! The solution is to raise taxes and give you less for your money! "Phased in," of course -- which means that the younger you are, the more you get the shaft.

The rest of the editorial is a recipe for a government-enforced 401k plan -- something that is a curious solution coming from the Times. After all, putting money in the stock market has always been characterized as a "risky scheme" and now the Times is offering it as part of a solution to saving for retirement.

If the stock market is the key to a comfortable retirement, then why such strong opposition to partial privatization of Social Security?

9:52 PM

I believe you will find that Ralph Waldo Emerson's observation was to the effect that "Foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds". Leave out the first word and it is perhaps easier to make your point - with which I do not wholly disagree - but it is the cheap and easy way to do it, and RWE deserves better.
The stock market is only part of the answer to a comfortable retirement. The assumption that everyone earning $40k and putting 2-4% in the stock market for 40 years is going to retire comfortably is "foolish." Social Security was never intended to be a total retirement plan--only a safety net. People need to save /invest beyond Social Security. Mark my words, if we allow private savings accounts, 30 years from now we will be picking up the bill for those who made poor investment choices, and thus taxpayers will get to pay twice--once for the transition to the accounts, and again for the transition back.
Anyone who can justifies Social Security's one per cent return as "satisfactory" might be interested in some swamp land I have for sale. The stock market reflects America's prospects and its future. While there are those out there that deride an individual's ability to pick General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, Citicorp, etc in favor of the people that brought us Amtrack and the Post Office I can only point out that everyone's 401K is invested in stocks. Since the market returns ten times what social security does I'd suggest only a fool or a politican would be an advocate of the current social security ponzi scheme.
Not everyone's 401k is in the stock market--some people invest in bonds. Why does SS have to return 1%. Reforms could be made that would invest the current surplus at higher rates (hopefully with knowledgeable management.) That aside, my point is that private accounts will not gurantee a "comfortable retirement." People should be investing beyond Social Security.
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