Common Sense: A Waste of Time?

I hate commissions.

I really hate blue ribbon commissions.  And I really, really hate blue ribbon Social Security commissions.

Don't get me wrong, President Bush and the team he's assembled to look at our nation's retirement program mean well. It's just that nothing will come of it.

I know I sound jaded, but trust me I've been here before.  I covered the Grace Commission, 20 years ago, assigned the very same task to fix up the very same Social Security system.  Nothing came of that one and nothing will come of this one.

Here's why.

Social Security is a pay-as-you-go system.  The problem is, not enough pay so it might very well go.  When Social Security started out, more than 40 workers were contributing for every one beneficiary.  Pretty soon, it'll be darn near one-to-one.  Do the math, I have.

We can't keep going like that.  I don't need a commission to tell me that.

What I need is a commission with the guts to fix the problem. To say that unless benefits are cut, retirement ages hiked, or God forbid, taxes raised, Social Security will be out of luck.

They'll talk about privatizing part of Social Security — probably not a bad idea, if you have years to go before retirement. Maybe not so good if you don't.  But even then, it'll be greeted cooly.

And that's even if the Republican and Democratic characters on this commission can agree on anything. My God, have you looked at this bunch?  It's like the bar room scene in Star Wars.

I could be wrong but I fear I'm right.

I give President Bush credit for even attempting to address this third rail of politics, just don't back off once you touch it.

Time's a wasting and this commission is a waste a time.

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