Krugman's gripe

Published December 17, 2004 5:00PM (EST)

In his third straight column railing against Bush's plans to "convert Social Security into a giant 401(k)," Paul Krugman says we need only to look abroad for painful lessons from privatization:

" ... We can learn a lot from other countries that have already gone down that road. Information about other countries' experience with privatization isn't hard to find. For example, the Century Foundation, at, provides a wide range of links."

"Yet, aside from giving the Cato Institute and other organizations promoting Social Security privatization the space to present upbeat tales from Chile, the U.S. news media have provided their readers and viewers with little information about international experience. In particular, the public hasn't been let in on two open secrets:"

"Privatization dissipates a large fraction of workers' contributions on fees to investment companies."

"It leaves many retirees in poverty."

"The U.S. news media" giving the Cato Institute space to promote rosy privatization tales from Chile? That's a thinly-veiled lashing for his very own "space," the New York Times op-ed page. Take that, Gray Lady.

By Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at

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