Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Letís really fix Social Security

Your "Divided means conquered" editorial (June 13) fails to provide a useful solution and continues to perpetuate the public's misunderstanding of the Social Security system.

Our system is based on payments made by our current workforce going directly to make payments to retirees. Since the ratio of retirees to the workforce is constantly increasing, this model will soon not be able to provide expected retiree benefits. These expectations exist because retirees have made regular payments into the system (along with payments made by their employers) during each of their working years.

If we are really concerned about increasing wealth for the middle class, as I am, we would move directly to a system such as the one that exists in Singapore. I am very familiar with the system, as I lived there in the 1970s, when it started, and have returned regularly.

At that time, the country was very poor. Young manufacturing workers were making higher wages than their parents had ever made. They were required to contribute every payday into a government-controlled Central Provident Fund, and their employers were required to match the contribution. These contributions went into an account in their own name, and the proceeds were invested in government bonds. Eventually, they were able to invest some of the funds into high-quality equities.

As these people have retired, they have created substantial wealth in these accounts, which they personally control. The government only provides guidance on acceptable investments, along with administration. Therefore, the people are not dependent on politicians, and the country has created an enormous middle class as a result.

This country's real problem is that our politicians want to be seen as protecting their constituents' "Social Security" rather than moving to a system that would create real and predictable wealth for Americans.

It is time we woke up and elected people who will pursue our interests rather than their career interests.

Raney Dennis


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