Just Say No to Social Security Privatization

Polls show Americans don’t want privatized Social Security. They want more security, not less, writes Ruy Teixeira.

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Americans are feeling very dour about their financial situation these days. By about a 2-1 ratio, they say they are worse off today than they were a year ago, rather than better off.

Chart One

Given these sentiments, and the ongoing meltdown in the financial markets, it is truly astounding that conservatives continue to tout the virtues of Social Security privatization—trading the security of a guaranteed benefit for the opportunity to invest some of one’s payroll tax in the stock market.

This was a bad idea when President George W. Bush was pushing it back in 2005, but it’s an even worse one now. No wonder the public opposes it so vigorously. In a CNN poll last weekend, just 36 percent said they favored a proposal to allow workers to invest a portion of their Social Security taxes, while 62 percent opposed the proposal.

Chart Two

It’s about time for conservatives to admit that dog just won’t hunt. The American people want more security, not less.

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Ruy Teixeira

Former Senior Fellow

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