NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Public Has Greater Confidence in Social Security Privatization Than Gop Leaders

January 31, 2002

In his State of the Union address, President Bush reiterated his goal of allowing younger workers to elect personal retirement accounts on a voluntary basis. Some political observers surmise many Republican politicians wish he had not brought the subject up.

They see efforts to push private retirement plans as a political liability. But the public thinks otherwise.

  • Equity ownership by the public encourages people to identify with the GOP -- as substantiated by a Zogby poll in October 2000 which found that having owned stocks or bonds for five years made people 30 percent more likely to identify themselves as Republicans.
  • Exit polls during the 2000 elections revealed that 57 percent of voters favored private accounts.
  • This week a Gallup poll found support for private accounts stands at 63 percent.
  • Even the stock market's retreat hasn't discouraged Americans for investing -- they are still putting money into defined-contribution plans, and even viewing reversals as buying opportunities.

The millions who began to invest in the 1990s are continuing to build wealth -- when one recognizes that the Dow Jones index is still about 2,000 points higher now than it was in January 1998.

Source: Ramesh Ponnuru (National Review), "Republicans Can Win on Social Security," Wall Street Journal, January 31, 2002.


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