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Anyone OK with taking ibuprofen for pain should like the idea of adding mandatory personal accounts to the Social Security program. In the future, there are going to be more old people than young. Therefore, the young are going to have to pay higher taxes to support them. For example, today the payroll tax is 12 percent; in the future it will likely be 18 percent. In addition, expect the tax-free status of 401(k)s and similar investments to be debated, and possibly taxed.

Also, the old are going to receive reduced benefits. If parents receive 40 percent of preretirement income, their children will likely receive less, perhaps 30 percent. The age-wave conundrum is a double-whammy for the young. They will soon pay more in taxes and later receive less benefits.

Private accounts would offset this restructuring. They won't fully replace lost benefits, just get some back. They will likely give back two-thirds of the income decrease. In light of the facts, if one thinks of the idea of personal accounts like ibuprofen that dulls the pain, it's hard not to like them.

Peter J. Lopus

Orchard Park