Put aside politics for Social Security

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 17, 2005

While his proposals for Social Security reform were well known in advance, President Bush’s State of the Union Wednesday night seems to have been the opening bell for a major fight on the issue.

As soon as Bush finished a speech in which he proposed solutions such as private retirement savings accounts, Democrats were on the attack about the plan &045;&045; although details about it were actually relatively vague.

But what we need right now is compromise, not political attacks.

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While the math changes depending on which study you believe, most analysts agree that Social Security will be in trouble by the time today’s younger workers should be drawing on it.

Official estimates predict that benefits will exceed tax receipts beginning in 2018. In 2042, these estimates predict the trust funds will be exhausted, and benefits will have to be cut to 73 percent of current levels.

Already, most younger workers say they won’t rely on Social Security to help them by the time they retire.

Rather than partisan politics, we need real solutions to find a way to save the future of Social Security, which was established by Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal.

That means that Democrats need to halt their knee-jerk reactions to any Republican proposal, and Bush needs to stay true to his word that he will listen to ideas from both sides of the aisle.