Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Galveston County Social Security plan made famous by Republican presidential candidates

Normally I just cover the Houston media, but here is a story suggestion. I think it's time for Houston-area journalists to do a story on something Newt Gingrich (and Herman Cain before) keeps talking about that concerns SE Texas. It's a plan to create a Galveston County employee style personal Social Security savings account for the rest of the country.

Cain first talked about this in the CNN debate:

But fellow candidate Herman Cain, the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, raised another point about Social Security: He touted the performance of a plan that allowed employees of Galveston County, Texas, to opt out of Social Security and participate in a separate retirement plan.

The topic came up when moderator Wolf Blitzer asked Cain, "Are you with Gov. Perry that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme?"

Cain responded, "I don't care what you call it, it's broken. And here's my solution. Start with optional personal retirement accounts. In 1981, the Galveston County employees, they opted out because that was a very short window of opportunity. They took it. Today, when people retire in Galveston County, Texas, they retire making at least 50 percent more than they would ever get out of Social Security."

Gingrich then brought it up in the CNBC debate:

“You deal with Social Security as a free-standing issue. And the fact is, if you allow younger Americans to have the choice to go to a Galveston- or Chilean-style personal Social Security savings account, the long-term effect on Social Security is scored by the Social Security actuary as absolutely stabilizing the system and taking care of it.”

I want to hear from Galveston County employees about this plan. Do they like it? Does it work? What do they think about being a model for Republican presidential candidates?

Maybe someone in town has done the story. PolitiFact has already laid the groundwork here. Even so, it might be time to look at the issue again.

Now excuse me, I must get back to monitoring such important issues as which reporter is leaving town this week or funny anchor YouTube clips.

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