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Free Citizen

This writer espouses individual liberty, free markets, and limited government.

Location: Jackson, Mississippi, United States

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Galveston Says "Adios!" to Social Security

In 1964, Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater, a presidential candidate, proposed making Social Security voluntary. He even talked about his plan in Florida, of all places. Predictably, Goldwater was crucified by the mainstream media and others, including his principal rival for the Republican nomination, New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller. Rockefeller said that the system would collapse if it were not government-mandated.

In the early 1980s, a number of jurisdictions, including three south Texas counties, took advantage of a "window of opportunity" and opted out of Social Security, which they replaced with a private plan for their government employees. Fearing a "snowball effect," Congress moved quickly to close this window.

President Ronald Reagan and Congress set up a blue-ribbon commission, headed by Alan Greenspan, to "fix" Social Security. Years later, when Kansas Sen. Bob Dole was running for president, he bragged that he had been a member of the commission that had "fixed" Social Security in 1983. What Dole failed to mention was that the "fix" was a huge tax increase.

When former Delaware Gov. Pete du Pont sought the 1988 Republican presidential nomination, he courageously proposed privatizing Social Security for younger workers. In a debate moderated by NBC's Tom Brokaw, Vice President George H. W. Bush sarcastically addressed du Pont as "Pierre" and called his proposal "a nutty idea."

The piece below was written when President George W. Bush was promoting his proposal for partial privatization of Social Security. One fact that is omitted is that in such a private plan, unlike Social Security, drawing benefits does not limit a recipient's other earnings.

How many young people do you know who truly believe that they will ever draw the first dime from Social Security?

Winston Churchill, whose mother was an American, once said, "Americans always do the right thing-- after they have exhausted every other possibility."

The current debate over Social Security reform is reminiscent of the discussions that occurred in Galveston County, Texas in 1980, when county workers were offered a retirement alternative to Social Security: At the time they reacted with keen interest and some knee-jerk fear of the unknown. But after 24 years, folks here can say unequivocally that when Galveston County pulled out of the Social Security system in 1981, we were on the road to providing our workers with a better deal than Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal.->->->->->-> Read more...


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