Letters to the Editor

Risk with private pensions

Bill Atwood (letter April 15) describes himself as an anti-big-government conservative. He is opposed to the Social Security system and feels that people should instead be “responsible and save for their retirement” — as he did to earn a pension.

But the fact is, a great many people, for good or bad reasons, fail to follow Mr. Atwood’s model. It turns out that, one way or another, society pays for their needs.

On this issue I’ve always felt like a true proactive conservative. I don’t want my tax money spent on retirees who failed to provide for their retirement years. Thus I’m very much in favor of requiring people (including me, of course!) to save for their own retirements, as the Social Security system has done since 1935.

What if Mr. Atwood’s pension checks are reduced or eliminated because of a leveraged buyout or other financial shortfall, as has happened to so many employees and retirees? Would he still be an “anti-big-government conservative?” Or would he perhaps change his tune, and want the government to step in to protect his pension?

Henry D. Friedman