I got my 401k statement the other day. The timing couldn’t have been better – I needed a good scare just before Halloween.
With a good 40 years to go before I’m retirement age, I’m not all that worried. I still have time to continue a long-term retirement plan. Of course, that plan doesn’t include Social Security, which will not be available to me. All of the promises of Obama and others to “protect social security” is a transparent vote grab – and a reasonable one, because seniors tend to vote more often. I’d pander to them too. But here in the real world, I have to figure out how to save for retirement while flushing 7.5% of my paycheck down the crapper for a government-mandated retirement plan that’s about as dependable as an Enron pension.
As Election Day draws near, Republicans across the country will be accused of wanting to dismantle Social Security, Medicare, and other entitlement programs – as if these programs worked.
George Mason Economics Professor Walter Williams has a great line about government entitlements. Professor Williams points out that the facets of American Society that people are most satisfied with – the Internet, the availability of retail goods, etc. – are items in which the free market has been allowed to flourish. But the more regulations and government control exists, the more people tend to be dissatisfied – as they are with education, roads and traffic, fuel supplies.
I know I’d be a lot happier if I could bolster my 401k by saving 7.5% of each paycheck, instead of throwing it away.