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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Oct. 13, 2005 / 10 Tishrei, 5766

Social Security still needs fixing

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | President's Bush's campaign for Social Security reform has yet to catch fire, his strenuous efforts to ignite it notwithstanding. Those efforts included a 60-city speaking tour earlier this year, at the end of which opinion polls recorded no more enthusiasm for his proposed overhaul — the creation of personal retirement accounts — than when it began.

During a press conference last week, Bush acknowledged that Congress has no appetite for dealing with the issue — a simple statement of fact that was promptly spun in some circles as a concession speech. But when a reporter asked if ''Social Security is off until next year," Bush was adamant:

''Social Security, for me, is never off; it's a long-term problem that's going to need to be addressed. . . . I just want to remind people, it's not going away. It's not one of these issues — 'Well, if we don't deal with it now, maybe it will fix itself.' It gets worse over time, not better."

Social Security is hurtling toward a cliff; that is clearly one of the ways in which it is getting worse over time. Because it is a pay-as-you-go scheme, with current retirees' benefits paid from current workers' taxes, it can remain solvent only as long as the ratio of workers to retirees stays comfortably high. But that ratio is plummeting — from 17-to-1 in the 1950s to only 3-to-1 today. In little more than a decade, payroll taxes will no longer be enough to cover benefits. Social Security's deficits will rapidly explode. By 2020, it will be losing $72 billion a year. By 2030, losses will be $275 billion a year. To keep the system from collapsing, Congress will have no choice but to massively hike taxes, slash benefits — or both.

That isn't the only way in which Social Security is getting worse over time. When the program began, payroll taxes consumed a tiny fraction of American paychecks — just 3 percent of the first $3,000 of income, or a maximum of $90 a year. On that investment, workers could expect to earn a very handsome return, assuming they lived to retirement age.

But over the years, payroll taxes have been relentlessly raised — the rate is now 12.4 percent of the first $90,000 earned, or as much as $11,160 a year — and the return on those taxes has dwindled to almost nothing. According to Stuart Butler of the Heritage Foundation, the average male worker about to retire today will realize only a 1.27 percent return on his lifetime of payroll taxes — less than he would have gotten from a savings account. For younger workers, the outlook is even worse. A 25-year-old employee can now expect a lifetime return of minus 0.64 percent — a net loss. And the more Social Security takes out of Americans' paychecks, the less Americans have left to save for themselves.

The Bush administration deserves great credit for calling attention to the system's looming insolvency and for pointing out what a lousy deal Social Security has become for most of us. That part of its message has gotten through. Polls consistently show that a majority of the public does not expect Social Security to have enough money to pay their retirement benefits when they are ready to retire. At least 50 percent describe Social Security as having ''major problems," with another 15 to 20 percent saying it is in a ''crisis."

But it isn't enough to sell the problem; Bush has to sell the solution, too. And the way to get Americans excited about personal retirement accounts isn't to dwell on insolvency and rates of return and what the numbers will look like 50 years down the road. It is to focus on freedom and opportunity and dignity — on the advantages of a Social Security nest egg they could actually own as opposed to an unfunded government promise that can be changed at any time.

Yes, personal accounts would help the system in the long run. But the better reason to champion them is that they would give Americans more control over their own lives. Personal accounts would be vehicles for creating real wealth, not accounting gimmicks in phony government ''trust funds." Your personal account would be yours, not Washington's — and if you died before reaching retirement age, it would become the property of your heirs. Under the current system, nothing in your Social Security account belongs to you, and if you die before retiring, it doesn't pass to your loved ones.

The late senator Daniel Moynihan, a lifelong Democrat, favored personal retirement accounts. They offered, he wrote, something better than a government benefit: ''an estate! For doormen, as well as those living in the duplexes above." That is the spirit in which to reform Social Security.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

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