In the early days of the U.S. debate about Social Security privatization, advocates would regularly trot out Latin America, Chile in particular, as the region that did it right, the model that the United States should learn from. Recently, though, this dog and pony have remained backstage, in spite of the Bush administration's current tour to promote private accounts.
When it comes to pensions, President Bush's administration seems to practice a strange double standard: Private pensions are assumed to be superior to the current system simply because they are, well, private. And so the president has stuck adamantly to the line that the solution to Social Security's perceived problems is privatization. But in reality, Social Security is far from crisis. And the private-pension system is in serious trouble.