Focus Point - Saving Social Security

Commentary by Pete du Pont

I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis.

I have good news and bad news. The good news: the nation's economy grew at an unbelievable 7.3 percent in the last quarter of '99. The bad news: the boom has pushed Social Security's bankruptcy date back three years, to 2037.

So why is this bad?

Because no amount of economic growth can change Social Security's demographics. By 2015, workers' payroll taxes won't be enough to pay all Social Security benefits. The government will either have to raise taxes or borrow the money. We need to change the system, and soon.

We can solve the demographic dilemma by allowing workers to put some of their payroll tax dollars into personal accounts invested in the private market.

Reforms have been thwarted for years because of scare rhetoric from politicians who hold needed reform hostage to politics. Sooner or later, though, pressure to reform will come. I hope it's soon, from an informed electorate. We can't afford to wait until Social Security's house of cards collapses.

Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont. Next time, child labor.

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