Focus Point - Sweden 1, U.S. Nothing

Commentary by Pete du Pont

I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. Great, now we can add Sweden to the list of countries that are smarter than we are about social security.

According to investor's business daily, Sweden - that bastion of small government, the limited welfare state and modest taxes - has joined Chile, Poland, Great Britain, and Australia in moving toward individual social security accounts.

Since the first of this year, all Swedes who earn a paycheck have been able to put two-and-a-half percent of their 18.5 percent payroll tax contribution into a private account. A worker can invest in up to five mutual funds from the 600 on offer. While our congress dithers and throws up roadblocks, the Swedish parliament passed the measure with 85 percent approval.

So here we are, supposedly sold on the free market, the strength of the capitalist system and the primacy of individual initiative -- and the socialist Swedes have beaten us to privatizing social security. They're no smarter than us, but they could see a system that was overloaded and headed for bankruptcy. Why can't we?

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