Firing Line

Commentary by Pete du Pont

Host intro: Pete du Pont of the National Center for Policy Analysis took part in a recent debate that will air on your public television station sometime in the next few weeks. Naturally, Pete says his side won.

Well of course we won. How could we lose when my partners were William F. Buckley, former commerce secretary Pete Peterson and NCPA president John Goodman?

More to the point, how could we lose when we had truth on our side.

The topic was "Should We Privatize Social Security?" My side said yes: the most sensible course is to let people make their own choices regarding how their retirement funds should be invested.

As Bill Buckley said, grown up human beings here should get the same opportunity they get in Chile, where a privatized social security system has been a raging success for 15 years.

We debated before a college audience. John Goodman addressed them when he said there wouldn't be any money in the fund when they retire. That's why polls show young people are more likely to believe in UFOs than to believe Social Security will be around for them.

And I used my favorite statistic: for any ten year period, money invested in the stock market far outperformed your Social Security payment -- even if you'd invested the day before the 1929 stock market crash.

The other side never had a chance.

Those are my ideas. And at the NCPA, we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont, and I'll see you tomorrow.

Host outro: Monday, Pete du Pont has some thoughts on innovative ways to address the poverty problem.