Hastert uses '35 Ford to dramatize problem

March 16, 2005 at 5:31 PM
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WASHINGTON, March 16 (UPI) -- Congressional Republicans used a vintage Ford to call attention Wednesday to the need to reform the U.S. Social Security program through personal accounts.

"What worked in 1935 isn't going to work in 2035," House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill, said, standing next to a refurbished 1935 Ford Three Window Coupe built the year Social Security was created.

In 1935, there were 42 workers for each retiree, while today that ratio is about three-to-one, Hastert said. "When this car was built, it was getting about 16 miles to the gallon. But after significant wear and tear on the car, and without doing much up keep, it would only be getting about 8 miles to the gallon," he said, driving home the analogy.

"If we do nothing, by the year 2042, Social Security will go bankrupt," Hastert said, citing unfunded liabilities of $10.4 trillion in promised benefits it cannot currently afford to pay. If Congress fails to act and approve personal retirement accounts, he said, "It's going to cost an additional $600 billion a year."

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