An excerpt from the New York Times editorial today, on President Bush's Social Security proposal....
"We all know that the benefits from Social Security do not provide enough income for a comfortable old age. But they do provide a guaranteed basic level of financial stability for all old people and, in so doing, enhance the socioeconomic well-being of everyone. And for the large majority of old people for whom Social Security makes up more than half of income, it is the difference between destitution and the ability to live with dignity.
Clearly, the reliability of the income stream is critical. Mr. Bush does not want you to believe that such social and financial stability is possible. In a forum last Tuesday aimed at persuading "younger folks" to support privatization, he said that Social Security would be "flat broke" in the coming decades. That is false.
The system's trustees expect that even if nothing whatsoever is done, the current system will be able to pay full benefits until 2042, when it will be able to pay 70 percent of the promised benefits. The independent Congressional Budget Office is even more optimistic. Of course, no one is suggesting that no reforms be made.
But modest, straightforward tax increases and benefit cuts, phased in over generations, are all it would take to bolster the current system."