Thursday, December 16, 2004


The Bush administration, notoriously composed of Republicans, who are notoriously reluctant to regulate industry or enforce existing regulations, wants us to give up the Social Security safety net for privately handled investments.

Never mind the poverty and despair of the Great Depression, which led to the creation of Social Security and was itself the spawn of an immense stock market crash. Never mind the fresh abominations of Worldcom, Adelphia, Tyco and Enron, among others. Ignore even the tech bubble of the 1990s. Try to forget for a moment the fragility of our economy in the face of renewed terrorist attacks.

With all this accomplished, what is it about the stock market now — years off a major scandal and 9/11 — that so encourages private investment over Social Security? It’s not really doing that well. Especially with investors fleeing U.S. stocks for foreign stocks as the dollar weakens, it is unclear why Bush’s privatization plans have earned even modest interest among ordinary citizens.

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