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A Summary Of The Social Security Propositions Put Forth In Ted Halsted And Micheal Lind's "Radical Center."

998 words - 4 pages

Ted Halsted and Michael Lind have outlined in their book an extensive plan for social security reform. They start by explaining the current system and pointing out its pitfalls, and then go on to provide an exact model for a system of their own. Whilst those on both the left and the right of the American political spectrum will disagree with points of their ideas, it is a well rounded, moderate approach to a controversial issue. This is even more astounding in that the authors are proposing a radical redefinition of what in politics has often been considered the third rail, referring to the electrified third rail in many subway systems, "touch it and you're dead." Recent political developments have shown that this rail might not be quite so deadly to the touch anymore, which makes such a redesign possible.According to "The Radical Center", the current social security system is a universal provider model that is a disincentive for personal savings. The system does protect against destitution, but a growing problem will soon bankrupt the service. America is getting older, most people in the country realize this; this inversion of the population is making it harder and harder to provide caregiving to the eldest of our citizens. Resources available to our populace are scarce, and the current model puts the young and old in direct competition for them; this problem of competition is further compounded by the spatial and geographic separation of the generations. The elderly, who are the ones receiving the benefit of this service, are demanding support from a workforce with which they have no contact, and feel no connection to; those of working-age however are outraged against providing for a people to whom they also feel no connection. If current trends continue, the social security system will be in the red by 2016, and will be completely bankrupt by 2038. This is being delayed however, by a growing bloc of elderly voters, who call for disproportionate spending to keep the system afloat. Something interesting about this, is that when this disproportionate spending does occur, and results in a surplus, congress often roll this money into other projects rather than reserving it for the future needs.The radical centrist plan is what the authors classify as a "safety-net" model, which basically means that it provides only for the neediest. The benefits specific to this type of model include simultaneous Increases in individual choice, responsibility, and security. The model they propose is a two-tier system: one level is personally funded, making the individual responsible for their own financial security, the other is an assured amount of money from the United States government providing the minimal sum needed for an acceptable standard of living. In this, the individual can make sure he or she has enough money for the standard of living he or she is comfortable with, and incases of poor planning or unforseen events the government steps in to...

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