Social Security Reform: Fix It Simply

Dwight Eisenhower

zFacts agrees with President Eisenhower

The following is President Eisenhower’s candid view of Social Security and those who seek to  abolish it. It is from a letter he wrote to his brother on 8 November 1954 (PDF, 79k).

“This is what I mean by my constant insistence upon “moderation” in government. Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L. Hunt (you possibly know his background), a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.”

The current scheme to privatize Social Security is part of the “guerrilla warfare against both the current Social Security system and the coalition that supports it” proposed in a Cato Institute article in 1983. We don’t think this fits with Ike’s insistence on “moderation.”

Is the Trust Fund Fake?  It contains $2+ trillion saved for our retirement from our paychecks (FICA) and by our employers. The White House says “There is no Trust Fund, just IOUs.” It’s just paper. But those papers are Treasury bonds. What gives? Who could steal this much hard earned money?

Are Private Accounts a Bonanza? No, as explained by a leading member of the President’s commission, who is pro-private accounts. Moving money out of Social Security and into the stock market increases risk and works against the principle of diversification.

Is There a Crisis? Is Social Security really in trouble? From whom? The Trust Fund may run out in 2041 … or 2025 with Private Accounts.

Who Started this Anyway?: In 1982 Heritage held a strategy conference and in the fall of 1983 the Cato Journal published a “Leninist Strategy” to “construct a coalition” for a “private Social Security system.” The coalition was to include “the banks, insurance companies, and other institutions that will gain from providing such plans to the public.”

Social Security Reform: Yes, it’s needed. But there’s no crisis and it’s quite easy. Ask Bob Ball, the Commissioner of Social Security under Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon.

Why Social Security Matters.  Social Security is insurance that protects Americans when they are most vulnerable: in old age, when disabled, and when children lose a parent. It is 100% paid for by workers and employers—not income tax. 

What is Bush’s Private-Accouhnts Plan? Peter Wehner, President Bush’s director of strategic initiatives, says “For the first time in six decades, the Social Security battle is one we can win.” And what did we have 60 years ago? No Social Security.