WASHINGTON – Whoever thought Social Security was a stodgy issue that only old people worry about should think again.
Noah McCullough,a 10-year-old who plans to run for president as a Republican in 2032,said at a recent roundtable discussion that he supports Social Security reform because he wants to make sure he will get benefits when he retires.
“I don't want Social Security to still be a mess my first day in office in 2032,” McCullough said. He has appeared on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” and other programs because of his knowledge of U.S. history. His book,“The Essential Book of Presidential Trivia,” will be published in February,on President's Day.
Capitalizing on recent increasing interest in the system,several student organizations – most with members older than 10 – met with House and Senate members recently to talk about Social Security reforms.
These organizations are working on college campuses to educate fellow students and other young people about Social Security and why they think it needs to be reformed.
Students say they want ownership and control of their future,said Ben Ferguson,communications director for Students for Saving Social Security.
Young people are being “duped” into thinking the system will take care of them,said Ferguson,23,who attends the University of Mississippi.
As the baby boom generation begins retiring in a few years,the system's deficits will continue to rise,decreasing the sustainability of Social Security for future generations,according to the summary of the U.S. Social Security Administration 2005 annual reports by its trustees.
While it is not easy to talk to young people about issues such as Social Security,often it is a matter of just “dumbing” it down,Ferguson said. The issue is a non-partisan one,and the group has organizations at more than 100 college campuses across the nation,he added.
About two-thirds of people under 30 support private accounts,according to a survey by independent pollster John Zogby. The poll of 1,006 likely voters was done in May for the Cato Institute and has a margin of error of 3.2 percentage points. The sample included 169 people ages 18 to 29.
Other student groups are more dubious about private accounts.
Rock the Vote,a non-partisan group with more than 1 million young members nationwide,opposes private accounts. The group sends its members to town meetings and college campuses to talk about what they consider the dangers of Social Security reform,said Hans Riemer,the group's Washington director,in a phone interview.
“It's fun,” Riemer said. “We've been out there.”
The group also has a video about Social Security on its Web site.
Members of Congress who met with the students promoting personal accounts detailed their concerns about Social Security and what they think should be done to protect the system.
“This is a huge issue for young people,” said Rep. Adam Putnam,R-Fla. “This is money you are losing,beginning today.”
For more information about Noah McCullough,go to http://www.noahmccullough.com Information about Students for Saving Social Security is available at http://www.secureourfuture.org and Rock the Vote's Web site is http://www.rockthevote.com/home.php