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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Applauding Failure

What's the best thing Bush tried to do, but couldn't?

The Best Thing that Didn't Happen During The Bush Administration, by Robert Reich: The best thing to have occurred during the Bush administration is something that did not happen. We did not privatize Social Security.

Had we done so, boomers facing retirement over the next few years would be even worse off than they are today. Now they’re struggling with pension plans worth less than they counted on, and home values that are tanking. At least they can rely on a monthly Social Security check.

But had we privatized, they’d be totally reliant on the stock market. And look what’s happened to the market: Compared to stock values ten years ago, the S&P 500 has risen a little over 1 percent a year, adjusted for inflation. Even Treasury bonds have done better. Go back nine years and there’s been no gain at all. Go back eight years and the market has been off an average of 1.4 percent a year.

Yes, I know, it’s been a rough time. First the tech bubble bursting, then 9/11, then Enron, then the housing bubble bursting, then the credit crunch. But that’s my point. We can’t necessarily rely on the stock market. ...

Sure, the stock market has done well over the past half century. But there have been decades like the 1970s and this one, so far, where it’s been a disaster. That’s why we have Social Security – so that if your timing is bad and you get caught in a downdraft, you still have something to fall back on in retirement.

If we had privatized, you’d have had nothing to fall back on. You’d crash.

I'm pretty happy the whole permanent Republican majority thing didn't work out so well either.

    Posted by on Tuesday, April 22, 2008 at 11:10 AM in Economics, Politics, Social Insurance, Social Security | Permalink  TrackBack (0)  Comments (81)


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