Bush Unveils Privatization Strategy: Divide and Conquer

The President will announce that those 55 and older will not face benefit changes in their social security. (Presumably, those 55 years or older who are still in the work force will also not be eligible to privatize part of their social security contribution.)

The plan is simple: to remove the most mobilized, organized, informed constituency from objecting to the partial privatization of social security.

The theory is that, with this assurance, today's seniors just won't care what happens (unless they care for altruistic reasons). This isn't exactly true--perhaps the move to privatize for younger workers will gut the corpus of money available to service the obligations the government has to older workers.

The only ones interested in the privatization will be likely seized of the overoptimism in personal investments that behavioral economists have noted in paper after paper. Us younger folk will think we're going to strike it rich through the market (we might, of course, but we might not).

So the question is this: Whom does the AARP represent? Current seniors, or the interests of seniors more generally, including me not too long from now?

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