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When Mother Nature Attacks

The two economists also suggest that the effects of bank mergers may spill over into other areas as well. If mergers affect crime, then they might also negatively impact on "a range of economic and social issues including, for example, education and health care," their paper argues.

Social Insecurity

The good news for President Bush is that younger people overwhelmingly favor allowing individuals to invest some of the money earmarked for Social Security in private investment accounts.

_____Unconventional Wisdom_____
The Salmon Effect (The Washington Post, Dec 19, 2004)
Stay in School (And Out of the Maternity Ward) (The Washington Post, Dec 5, 2004)
Dramatic Influences (The Washington Post, Oct 24, 2004)
Previous Columns
E-mail Rich Morin at morinr@washpost.com.

The not-so-good news for Bush and others who want to change Social Security is that twenty-something Americans are among the least likely to say that the current system is in crisis and among the most likely to believe that the retirement plan has only minor or no problems, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Two in three Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 favor private accounts, and nearly half said they would invest a portion of their retirement nest egg in stocks and bonds. Overall, Americans are divided, with a narrow majority -- 53 percent -- broadly favoring partial privatization, according to the mid-December poll of 1,004 randomly selected adults.

But the biggest fans of private accounts are the least likely to say that the system is facing ruin, raising the question of how assertive they would be in supporting efforts to overhaul it. Fewer than one in five adults between the ages of 18 and 29 -- 19 percent -- say the system currently is "in crisis," a view expressed by about one in three Americans aged 30 to 64.

Only the retirement crowd is more blase about Social Security than young people, with 15 percent of those 65 years and older saying that Social Security is in crisis.

(Easy for them to say. How many of them will be around when the Wiz and the millions of his fellow baby boomers hit retirement age?)


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