James Edward Johnson

my thoughts from right to left

RAC on Social Security

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The RAC’s Chai Impact Legislative Action Center issued this alert on Social Security, opposing any kind of personal accounts. My reply:

Dear Mr. Scharff and Ms. Rice,

I am disappointed to see that the RAC is taking this position on Social Security. I support protecting poorer elderly Americans, survivors and the disabled who are dependent on Social Security. However, replacing a program that is basically a pay-as-you-go system with no legal protections for future retirees with a system where people will accumulate real wealth that cannot be taken away is a progressive step.

As you know, African-Americans have a shorter life expectancy than other Americans. Because Social Security is not currently a wealth building system, African-Americans suffer from a disparate impact in the benefits they receive. By replacing it in substantial part with a wealth building system, this disparate impact could be remedied without resorting to racial wealth transfer schemes.

Additionally, moving towards private accounts would help poorer Americans build real wealth, whereby they can reduce their dependence on government. Your proposal would leave the poor as dependent as they are currently, or in the event we have to raise the FICA tax, more dependent. We need to keep the safety net for the elderly poor, survivors and disabled, but we also need to help people build their own wealth. That is why good Democrats like Patrick Moynihan and Bob Kerrey have promoted personal accounts.

By opposing personal accounts outright, the RAC removes itself from the dialogue on how we can have personal accounts while also protecting those in need. The RAC needs to reconsider the course it is taking. Its advocacy on this issue, as well as the kerfuffle recently raised in The Jewish Week between the RAC and various Jewish defense agencies, suggests that the RAC is moving in the wrong direction. If it continues to do so, it will bolster the view that the RAC is more interested in some political agenda than tikkun olam. That would be a tragedy.

b’Shalom,

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Written by JamesEJ

Thursday, February 3, 2005 at 11:41 am

Posted in other

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