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Opinion

A selection of opinion pieces and editorials on Social Security from The Washington Post.

Social Security Spelled Out
November 30, 1998
The president last year said brilliantly but vaguely that the surplus should be used to "save Social Security first." Now he has to spell out what that implies. – Editorial

Who Will Rescue Social Security?
November 29, 1998
On two of the biggest issues confronting Congress and the Clinton administration – Social Security and Medicare – it is hard to find anyone optimistic about action in the coming year. – David S. Broder

Plenty for Social Security
November 24, 1998
Members of Congress should not be intimidated by President Clinton into abandoning tax cuts any time they hear, "Save Social Security First!" – James K. Glassman

Before We Reinvent Social Security
November 16, 1998
A system of self-directed individual accounts would require an unprecedented level of broad-scale policing of the equity markets. – Arthur Levitt

Clinton's Dangerous Flirtation
November 9, 1998
By wavering on privatization, the White House is flirting with a scheme that is pure mischief. Democrats, who just won an election by promising to save the real Social Security system, should tell the president so. – Robert Kuttner

Are Private Social Security Accounts Practical?
November 8, 1998
In theory, 150 million private accounts are doable. But no one is telling me how to do them yet – Jane Bryant Quinn

Plundering the Young
November 4, 1998
Immense intergenerational transfers require some justification, and the truth is that the moral claims of the old on the young – through government programs – have lost much of their original power. – Robert J. Samuelson

Hard Work Doesn't Always Pay Off
September 9, 1998
The Social Security system has not been reformed to reflect the fact that millions of women are now employed and paying Social Security taxes on substantial incomes. – Judy Mann

Social Security's Best Bet
August 21, 1998
American workers would be substantially better off if they were permitted to invest a portion of their Social Security taxes in private stocks and bonds. – Carolyn Weaver

Social Security on Wall Street
August 14, 1998
A bear market may finally save Social Security from those who would foolishly "rescue" it by privatizing it. – Robert Kuttner

Me-Too Politics
August 14, 1998
Washington conventional wisdom is that privatization is gaining enormous popularity. But the fact that Republicans aren't using it as an election issue is testimony to the public's doubts. – E.J. Dionne Jr.

Needed: A New Sytsem
August 14, 1998
The burden of paying for retirement should be on the shoulders of the workers themselves, each active worker funding his or her own future retirement. – William Raspberry

Detoxifying Social Security
July 1, 1998
The president said Social Security should be reformed "in a way that protects the guarantee," insofar as possible. That's the right place to start. – Editorial

Be Careful With Social Security
July 1, 1998
Some of the new reform proposals act as if Social Security were a quaint relic that we have outgrown. Critics want us to move to a market-driven system that abandons the fundamental protections of the present one. This would be a dangerous mistake. – Richard A. Gephardt

Weekend Wonks
June 14, 1998
David S. Broder reports his observations from "a useful but imperfect effort at serious grass-roots democracy devised by a group called Americans Discuss Social Security." – David S. Broder

How Congress Set Up Roadblocks to Saving
June 7, 1998
Conversion of some or all of Social Security to investment accounts would widen the gulf between the haves and have-nots than already exists in the working world. – Albert B. Crenshaw

Building a New Engine for the Old Model
June 7, 1998
Our plan would maintain the core of the current system and add to it a totally new feature: individual accounts invested in the private markets. – Judd Gregg, John Breaux, Jim Kolbe and Charles Stenholm

Take Social Security Off-Budget
May 29, 1998
We have a rare opportunity to reduce the national debt from wartime to peacetime levels and provide a safety cushion for the economy. Let's do it. It starts with an accounting device. Take Social Security off the books. – Charles Krauthammer

Tune It Up, Don't Trade It In
April 19, 1998
Under a privatized Social Security system, in which each participant's benefit would depend on the accumulations in his or her individual account, there is no room for social assistance. – Henry J. Aaron and Robert D. Reischauer

Hope For Social Security
April 15, 1998
The response in both parties to President Clinton's call for a bipartisan solution to Social Security's boomer burdens has been positive. Next year could see that landmark government program become a firmer safety net and also a generator of new family wealth. – David S. Broder

Sharing Insights On Social Security
April 12, 1998
Cynical Washington has rising hopes that Congress and the president may be able to agree next year on a policy to preserve Social Security. – David S. Broder

Making Social Security Safe
April 9, 1998
The Social Security forum was a serious, substantive discussion of a subject that has hitherto been supposed to be politically taboo. The more of that the better. – Editorial

To Fix Social Security
April 8, 1998
We have social insurance to ensure that people have a reliable income floor when retirement, death or disability cuts their earnings. Such income should not depend on what happens to stock and bond prices or whether people choose their investments wisely. – Henry Aaron

Mr. Gingrich on Social Security
April 6, 1998
Privatization is a huge and fateful step. To propose that the country start down a path that will force cuts in this most basic of social insurance programs without having counted the consequences – while suggesting even that there may not be any – is reckless. – Editorial

Moynihan's Social Security Plan
March 24, 1998
Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan's plan to change Social Security by cutting the payroll tax and letting Americans use the money for private retirement accounts – or for whatever else they want – is a courageous idea. – James K. Glassman

In Us We Trust: Take The System Private
March 22, 1998
Social Security's problems result from its fundamentally flawed design, which is little more than a government-sponsored pyramid scheme. Social Security should be privatized. – Michael Tanner

In Chile, They Went Private 16 Years Ago
March 22, 1998
The success of Chile's venture into privatization can provide a valuable example for the United States. – Jose Pinera

The Social Security Clock
March 9, 1998
The Social Security problem is around the corner, not over the horizon. In fact if the law isn't changed, the pinch will be felt in only about eight years. – Editorial

Clinton's Social Security Plan Is No Real Fix
February 10, 1998
How, exactly, does the president's budget propose to use the surplus to "save" Social Security? With accounting hocus-pocus. – Allan Sloan

Women, Be Wary of Social Security Change
February 8, 1998
On average, women gain relatively more than men from Social Security today. Some of the reforms would erase this advantage. – Jane Bryant Quinn

The Social Security Dialogue
February 1, 1998
Clinton probably has the timing right – spend a year walking people through the problem and the alternative solutions and then put on a full-court press for legislative action in 1999. – David S. Broder

Social Security Is a Success Story
January 19, 1997
Social Security needs repairs, but a new report also shows a system in better shape than the naysayers think. – Jane Bryant Quinn

Justice Among Generations
January 15, 1997
Last week's report from the Advisory Council on Social Security brims with bad ideas from all along the political spectrum. – Robert J. Samuelson

The Social Security Report
January 9, 1997
It's wrong to respond to the financial problem Social Security faces by recommending, in effect, a dismantling of the program. A fairly conventional combination of revenue-raising steps and benefit cuts has always seemed promising to us. – Editorial

Fix Social Security Now
August 6, 1996
Personally owned savings accounts are frequently proposed as a necessary component of "fixing" Social Security because it has been clearly shown that traditional solutions simply will not maintain both the stability and equity of the Social Security system. – Judd Gregg and Alan Simpson

The Myths of the Social Security Crisis
July 21, 1996
"Social Security is in crisis." "Social Security is part of the current deficit problem." "The Social Security trust fund is a fiction." Etc. – Henry J. Aaron

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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