Re "GOP Seeking a Deal on Accounts" (Washington Post, Page 1, 2/27/05)
Senator Graham's proposal guaranteeing that "low-income beneficiaries will do better under a new program than the existing system" is a perfect example of how compromises in legislation tend to get us the worst of both worlds rather than the best. It's a promise which can't be made without exacerbating the system's problems. There are many reasons to reform Social Security not simply the obvious economic aspects. For example, the current system masks the true size of the government's deficit spending while preventing low income people from building up savings, effectively keeping poor people poor. President Bush is, thankfully, an ideologue on this issue, truly believing that retirement savings are not what Social Security was intended to be and not a legitimate role for government. With luck, the Republicans will stick to their principles and not compromise on one of the most important government reforms for generations.