NEMS360 – Politics gets in the way of solving problems

LAST WEEK’S dueling press conferences on Social Security between the 1st District congressional candidates illustrated in microcosm how hard it is to reach political solutions on tough problems.

Both Democratic incumbent Travis Childers and Republican challenger Alan Nunnelee signed pledges that essentially bind them to the Social Security status quo: No reductions in benefits, no raising of the retirement age, no tax increases – and no privatization.

This no doubt was reassuring to many, and in the heat of a political campaign, that’s the point. But fear of political retribution prevents an honest discussion of the looming financial problems of Social Security and how to fix them.

Current projections are that the Social Security trust fund’s reserves will run out in 2037, making payment of promised benefits impossible. While that date fluctuates periodically … the reality is that most economists believe the current system is unsustainable over the long term without some adjustments.

Politics prevents a full and honest discussion of these realities. Voters need to make candidates aware that we are capable of hearing and dealing with real solutions.

– Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, www.NEMS360.com
9/15/10