A young person now entering the work force at age 21 could have twice as much money at retirement by simply putting the 10 percent of his or her pay going to Social Security into a savings account or using it to buy government bonds.
And then there is the moral issue that free people in a free country should not have their income confiscated because politicians have concluded that they can't take care of themselves. Shouldn't you at least have a choice?
Not long ago, when the Republican Party was an exciting place to be (remember the "ownership society"?), transforming Social Security to an ownership system was one of the important pillars of reforms being put forward to address causes rather than symptoms of our nation's growing problems.
But, somehow, after the great success of welfare reform in 1996, the energy seemed to dissipate. It was easier to dredge up a groundswell of enthusiasm to move black women off the dole than to get the government off the backs of black blue-collar and service workers (and everyone else) and allow them to take back the 10 percent of their income being taxed and build wealth through their own retirement savings accounts.
If Republicans are to again capture the high ground in the battle for leadership of this country, it must be understood that the failure of the Thompson candidacy was as much substance as style.
We've got to have candidates who take seriously the agenda of traditional values and limited government and apply it imaginatively and courageously to the many problems facing us today.