Don#039;t look now, the gorilla is still growing

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 6, 2005

Whatever you do, make sure you don’t look at the 600-pound gorilla in the corner. Do not, repeat, do not make eye contact with it. Just continue to toss bananas to the grunting beast but otherwise ignore it and let’s hope it goes away.

Sound logical?

Can we just ignore a problem and hope it goes away? Not hardly.

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And the same thing can be said for the nation’s Social Security system.

Almost everyone agrees that Social Security needs to be reformed. The program will be bankrupt in the not-so-distant future, though estimates vary as to exactly when that will happen.

We are, however, continually amazed at how many Americans simply want to ignore the problem in hopes it just goes away.

A recent poll released this week sheds some interesting light on the federal "gorilla" lurking in the corner.

Approximately 70 percent of Americans surveyed in a recent poll said they believe the program will soon run out of money. But a great majority disagrees with President Bush’s proposal for Social Security reform.

Bush deserves a medal of courage for keeping the issue out front. Social Security reform has been referred to as the "third rail" of politics: touch it and you die.

Yet, Bush keeps evangelizing about the need for reform.

From our perspective, the issue comes down to an all-too-often behavior in America: we want to have our cake and eat it, too.

Or, more precisely in this case, we want the system reformed, but we really do not want to have to either pay more up front or reduce benefits. Both of those options may eventually be necessary to keep the system afloat long-term.

While the country has yet to agree on the manner we should use to "fix" the problem, the fact that we’re still talking about it is progress, we suppose.

Now, stop reading, look away and continue throwing the bananas – your money – at the problem. Who knows, it might fix itself. On second thought, probably not.