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Letters: Social Security insecurities

August 26, 2012
  • Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan speaks at a campaign stop in Ohio. His selection as Mitt Romney's running mate has re-ignited the debate over privatizing Social Security.
Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan speaks at a campaign… (Phil Long / Associated Press )

Re "Social Security is under attack again," Column, Aug. 22

Michael Hiltzik's views of Social Security over the years can be summarized as consistent, and he is just plain wrong. He has written in the past about the myth of the Social Security shortfall, even though the program's trustees reported this year an

$8.6 trillion unfunded liability. He now faults Mitt Romney as being "hostile" for an accurate statement that the program is out of control and needs change to avoid the obvious terrible burden on future generations.

I would like to see Hiltzik's proposal for fixing Social Security in a manner that goes beyond denying the severity of the problem. He praises Vice President Joe Biden for promising not to change the program. It is no solution to wait for a full-blown crisis to develop while calling for increased taxes on the wealthy in the name of fairness.

James R. Allder

Rancho Palos Verdes

Workers' retirement security does not require privatization of Social Security, but rather depriving the financial industry of its monopolistic hold on 401(k) plans and traditional IRAs.

When applying for Social Security, retirees should have the option of rolling some or all of their defined-contribution assets into the defined-benefit Social Security program. These assets would purchase a monthly benefit payable to the retiree and beneficiaries with much lower administrative fees and other return-reducing costs than with annuity contracts purchased from the private financial industry.

Additional protection of workers' assets would result from the mandatory inclusion of a certificate of deposit investment option within all 401(k) plans. The industry and its political allies oppose this, as only minimal administrative fees could be charged, but the devastating losses of 401(k) assets caused by the Great Recession could have been far less if workers had been permitted to diversify into CDs.

Robert Ryan

Culver City

Thanks to Hiltzik for another thoughtful, informative column regarding the bugaboo tactics about Social Security and attempts by Republicans to "save" it by privatizing it.

Social Security and Medicare are funded by employee and employer contributions. The solution to fixing them? Jobs, jobs, jobs. A stimulus package that creates jobs across the country would start refilling the coffers of the Social Security and Medicare. When you have a paycheck and the family supports the local stores and other businesses, everyone wins, including the U.S. economy.

Lola Moline

Los Angeles


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