Wednesday, December 22, 2004

How to Defend Social Security

Is there any economist reading this blog? If so, the Center for Economic and Policy Research "encourage[s] you to weigh in with an Op/Ed defending Social Security and pointing out the health of the program to help change the terms of this debate" -- particularly emphasizing the fact that Social Security is "NOT facing a crisis" -- and offers "some sample op/eds" and "assistance in getting op/eds placed in media outlets" (Patrick McElwee, "Social Security Op/Ed Offer," Progressive Economists Network, December 21, 2004). If you are interested, email Patrick McElwee, the CEPR's domestic policy analyst.

Even if you aren't an economist, you can still digest the CEPR's fact sheet -- "Basic Facts on Social Security and Proposed Benefit Cuts/Privatization" (November 16, 2004) -- and write letters to editors. You can also download it in PDF, make copies, and hand them out to the public.

Why do you need to get off your ass? Because many Americans are woefully confused about Social Security, thanks to the power elite's propaganda: "A majority (53 percent) supports allowing people to invest Social Security contributions in the stock market, while 44 percent oppose it," even though "62 percent of those surveyed said they would not put their own contributions into stocks, compared to 37 percent who said they would" (William Branigin, "Majority Favors Stocks Choice for Social Security: But Many Reluctant to Invest Their Own Funds in Stock Market," Washington Post, December 21, 2004). Support for Social Security privatization is down 11% since the peak of 64% in 2000, and a plurality of 47 percent opposes privatization (46% would still support it!) if asked "whether they still would support a stock-market option if the government had to borrow as much as $2 trillion to set it up" (Branigin, December 21, 2004). But we are still in a danger zone.

If you wish to prevent the White House and Congress from forcing your parents -- and yourself -- to retire into poverty, flyering and letter-writing are the least you can do.

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