Social Security Works

Let me tell you a story of progressive progress.

In 1939, two-thirds of America's senior citizens lived their "golden years" in cold, hard poverty. Just a decade later, that percentage was down to half. By 1959, it was only one-third. Today, the number is less than 10 percent.

That's progress. What's progressive about it is that this decline in poverty is the result of the New Deal's passage of our nation's landmark Social Security program.

Yes, the very same program now under attack by Wall Street wolves and congressional opportunists of both parties who insist that Social Security is doomed to failure and facing an imminent financial crisis.

Horsedooties. First, this program actually works, providing the modicum of income so our gray-haired citizens have a basic level of decent living when their earning years are over. Second, Social Security is a model of efficiency, requiring only a single percent in administrative costs. Compare that to the insurance corporations that suck out one-third of our healthcare dollars to pay for their corporate bureaucracies, executive salaries, marble palaces and advertising.

But, no, cry the Chicken Littlers, Social Security is going broke! Hogwash. Without changing anything, Social Security is financially sound for the next 40 years. Name me a corporation that can claim that!

Yet, the Bushites -- on behalf of Wall Street finaglers -- seek to privatize this public treasure, pushing people to put their Social Security nest egg into the stock market. Hello -- these are the same investment geniuses that only three year's ago would have advised you to invest in Enron -- a stock that fell from $97 a share to 57 cents in only one year!

Wall Street hustlers, members of Congress, and other "reformers" already have their own golden retirements covered. I say no one should be allowed to "reform" Social Security unless they actually need it.

Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of 'Thieves In High Places: They've Stolen Our Country And It's Time To Take It Back,' on sale now from Viking Press.

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