Duty to previous generation


Published: Wednesday, January 12, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 11, 2005 at 10:31 p.m.

On Dec. 9, The Gainesville Sun ran side-by-side opinions on Social Security, one by James L. Martin of the 60 Plus Association, and the other by William D. Novelli of the AARP. Neither commentator addressed what I think is the biggest problem with the president's drive to privatize Social Security.

The fundamental principle behind Social Security is filial duty. The money I pay into Social Security goes toward my parents' retirement, not mine. When I retire in 10 years or so, my Social Security will come from the income of my children. Social Security is not saving for my own retirement but caring for my elders.

For saving for retirement from my own income, I have a pension plan, IRAs, and a host of other tax-incentive driven programs to help me augment what my children's generation will provide. I could improve my later years considerably by diverting my Social Security from paying for the older generation to saving for my own retirement, but that is not what my Social Security money is supposed to be doing.

What my Social Security deductions do is assure that, no matter what financial success a person may have had during his or her working years, when that person retires there is a guaranteed minimum that my generation contributes toward a retirement income for him or her.

The president's proposal changes the very principle behind Social Security, transforming it into a pension plan for the contributor rather than a duty toward the generation that raised us. In order for the program to continue to be what it was intended to be, attempts to resolve anticipated shortfalls must be made based on the principle of filial duty.

William G. Wall,

Gainesville

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