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The Day Social Security Died

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"Social Security benefits were said to be one leg of a three-legged stool consisting of Social Security, private pensions, and savings and investment. The metaphor was intended to convey the idea that all three approaches were needed to provide stable income security in retirement."

So says the Social Security Administration, describing the history of how it came to be. But lately, this "stool" has started looking awful wobbly.

First they took our pensions ...
In "Your Incredible Vanishing Pension," I described the tragic tale of Bethlehem Steel. When this giant of American industry went bust in 2001, it took the fortunes of thousands of investors with it and imperiled the retirements of more than 130,000 existing and retired workers. By the time Mittal Steel (NYSE: MT  ) , now ArcelorMittal, stepped in to pick up the scraps, a government takeover of Beth Steel's pension program had already cut benefits roughly in half.

Other giants with similarly shaky pension funds, such as U.S. Steel (NYSE: X  ) , have so far avoided Beth Steel's fate. But across America, the trend is clear: Rather than fix their pension problems, corporations such as Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC  ) and FedEx (NYSE: FDX  ) are opting instead to phase out the whole concept of "defined benefit" pensions -- where the employer is responsible for certain benefits upon retirement -- and push employees into "defined contribution" 401(k) programs, which place the investment risk on the employee.

Then they took our Social Security ...
So corporate America has already sawed one leg off the retirement stool. And now we hear that the second leg is about to fall off as well. The New York Times reports that for the first time in history, Social Security will run a deficit in 2010. According to the Congressional Budget Office, it's on track to pay out $29 billion more in benefits than it receives in payroll taxes this year.

As the Times tells it, analysts view the first year Social Security pays out more than it takes in as "the first step of a long, slow march to insolvency." That's the point at which the trust fund runs out of money. And when that happens, as Alan Greenspan recently warned, "you have to cut benefits ... because benefits have to equal receipts."

In other words: Social Security is a dead man walking.

I think we're alone now
It wasn't supposed to happen this way. Previous estimates had us hoping Deficit Day wouldn't arrive until 2016. But the Great Recession turned the clock forward. As unemployment skyrocketed, people who lost their jobs were forced to file for Social Security benefits early. Worse, when they lost their jobs, they stopped contributing Social Security taxes. And those lucky few of us who remain employed are discovering that our jobs often pay less than in years past.

Result: More money going out, less money coming in. That's bad for Social Security's balance sheet.

The situation isn't critical yet. Years of collecting more Social Security taxes than we needed to pay out to retirees have the Social Security "lockbox" flush with $2.5 trillion in savings. Recent projections suggest that we won't scrape the bottom of the box until 2037. However, these projections were based on estimates that unemployment would average 8.2% in 2009 and 8.8% in 2010. As we all know, those projections turned out to be a mite optimistic.

What's left? You are.
So with pensions gone the way of the dodo, and Social Security on its last leg, Americans hoping for a secure retirement are left with only one "leg" they can truly count on: ourselves. Our savings and investments. Someone's swiped our three-legged stool, and here we find ourselves, comically hopping around on a pogo stick instead.

That is to say, it would be comical, if the situation weren't so serious. But there's no use crying over spilled red ink. We're big boys and girls, and if the corporations and government have proved themselves irresponsible and incapable of providing for our security, it's time to take responsibility for ourselves. So here's what to do now, in three easy steps:

1. First, quit buying stuff you don't need
I won't lecture you on the little stuff. If you think you need to downgrade to basic cable, or quit paying $5 a pop for a latte and brew Maxwell House at home instead, that's a judgment call only you can make. I'd suggest that a more profitable use of your time is to examine bigger-ticket items. For example, buying a BMW may signal that you've "made it." But if you think you might instead lose it, well ... have you driven a Ford lately?

2. Next, save more
Because the benefits we were counting on receiving won't be as generous as those promised in the past, we've got to make up the difference. How much will that difference be? How much do you need to secure a comfortable retirement, and how much must you save now to ensure it? We've got a whole battery of calculators designed to answer these questions for you on the Rule Your Retirement website.

3. Invest those savings
Last but not least, you need to invest those savings while time's still on your side. I know -- a lot of people got hurt by the market crash. But for those who weren't overspending, were saving, and had cash handy, the market's plunge offered a real buying opportunity. Since hitting its low point on March 9, 2009, the stock market has surged back by 65%, while investors in Ford (NYSE: F  ) , Apple (NYSE: AAPL  ) , and American Express (NYSE: AXP  ) are all sitting on gains of 100% and more. That could have been you -- and with the S&P 500 still sitting well beneath its peak, it still can be.

Now's not the time to sit on your ... stool. Now's the time to master the fine art of pogo-stick hopping. Visit us at Rule Your Retirement, and take advantage of our calculators and retirement advice with a free guest pass. We're here to help.

Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of any company named above. American Express is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Apple, Ford Motor, and FedEx are Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy plans to take up pogo-stick hopping just as soon as it figures out this darned hula hoop.


Read/Post Comments (27) | Recommend This Article (63)

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  • Report this Comment On April 07, 2010, at 3:31 PM, grumpydump wrote:

    one more expert telling us social security is about to die. well if you thought those "tea party" kids were a pain in the butt..just wait till the boys and girls in congress cut SS benefits. there's an awful lot of seniors now forced by corporate greed and mismanagement to rely - heavily - on those checks. you give great advice.. save more and invest wisely. gm looked pretty good -- before it imploded. 40 years and tossed out of a job at 60 leaves little time to amass a huge bank account. take away or cut SS?? i dont think senior americans are going to sit by and let that happen without a huge outcry... It will spell political suicide for any lawmaker who votes to trim the payments. plus the debate swirling around that would make this health care thing look pretty tame indeed. i doubt anyone in dc has the fortitude to do it anyway.

  • Report this Comment On April 07, 2010, at 4:26 PM, Phizz101 wrote:

    SO I CAN NOW SAVE MORE MONEY JUST TO HAVE THEM COME AND TAKE THAT AWAY. DON'T THINK IT COMING; GUESS AGAIN!

  • Report this Comment On April 07, 2010, at 5:13 PM, mythshakr wrote:

    Don't on the one hand preach buy and hold and then on the other speak about 100% gains. Those of us who listened and watched those same stock loose half or more of their price have not made anywhere near 100% in fact not even 10% over the past 3 years. And that's the best of the portfolio. If I add in the others that haven't fared as well I'm still 10% behind 3 years ago.

    Sure I had a cash stash, and damn glad I did. And if you think I'm going to risk it too you're nuts. It may not be making any return but it's still ahead of everything else.

    At 60 I cannot afford another bailout of the top 1/4 of 1 percent at my expense. They sucked out years of accumulated wealth of millions of smaller investors and savers and stuck in their pockets.

    As for SS I don't know who is worse, the Republicans who instead want everyone to give their money to that top 1/4 of 1 percent and say "trust us" or the Democrats who see a cash stash and want to give it away for everything that comes to mind and say "trust us".

  • Report this Comment On April 07, 2010, at 5:14 PM, mythshakr wrote:

    Don't on the one hand preach buy and hold and then on the other speak about 100% gains. Those of us who listened and watched those same stock loose half or more of their price have not made anywhere near 100% in fact not even 10% over the past 3 years. And that's the best of the portfolio. If I add in the others that haven't fared as well I'm still 10% behind 3 years ago.

    Sure I had a cash stash, and damn glad I did. And if you think I'm going to risk it too you're nuts. It may not be making any return but it's still ahead of everything else.

    At 60 I cannot afford another bailout of the top 1/4 of 1 percent at my expense. They sucked out years of accumulated wealth of millions of smaller investors and savers and stuck in their pockets.

    As for SS I don't know who is worse, the Republicans who instead want everyone to give their money to that top 1/4 of 1 percent and say "trust us" or the Democrats who see a cash stash and want to give it away for everything that comes to mind and say "trust us".

  • Report this Comment On April 07, 2010, at 5:26 PM, mountain8 wrote:

    Dear Grumpy.

    It's not like we didn't see it coming. We've known SS was going to be a cloud of broken hearts for decades. Did everyone think a miracle would fix it. NO it's political suicide to touch benefits and has been for the last 50 years. Everybody wants to be taken care by someone else. The government dole. But the gov can't give until someone takes away.

    So here's the options:

    Just sit and wait until it goes broke and EVERYBODY that's on SS goes away in a few years.

    Increase taxes until SS taxes are 40% or so.

    Cut programs across the board by 10%. That's about all it would take but humanity tends to want to cut everybody's free goodies, except theirs.

    Seniors won't have to outcry at all because there won't be a government to hear them. Political suicide? When it goes broke along with the country, or they cut benefits, there probably won't be elections anymore.

    And let's take our part of the responsibility. You sound like a bitter GM former worker. One of those wonderful workers that shut down the plants by strike every three years for more money. Eventually GM had to go broke. In 40 years of receiving ungodly wages, compared to us regular workers, I'd think you might have saved something. Perhaps you were living beyond your earnings. All the fool is saying is you and I should have been saving for the last 40 years. We live in a dream world. The US is dying and will die. Most painfully. I hope my son doesn't eventually hate me for giving him life.

  • Report this Comment On April 07, 2010, at 5:30 PM, mountain8 wrote:

    Don't tell me. I can't save you. VOTE NO TO INCUMBANTS!

  • Report this Comment On April 07, 2010, at 5:36 PM, stnkline wrote:

    How come union members and government workers get pensions at taxpayers expense. My solution: Just lump ALL together with SS and see what happens. Just maybe the pension mess would be fixed if all pensions were at risk not just SS.

  • Report this Comment On April 07, 2010, at 6:38 PM, iwcotton wrote:

    Just what "lockbox" is being referred to in the article? There is no such think. The government spent all the money brought in by social security taxes and issued government bonds (loans) to the Social Security Administration. Thus, at the point at which social security goes from being revenue positive to revenue negative, it becomes another drag on the budget and an adder to the deficit - though possibly an off-budget deficit, because the government chooses not to protray all its indebtedness in one place.

    To solve a problem you must first honestly define the problem. The problem with Social Security is multifold:

    1. None of the money taken in to fund retirement is invested, as a normal life insurance annuity company would do. Rather, the government spends the money and makes a bookkeeping entry on the SSA's books.

    2. Even if the government bonds were considered real investments, their yield is far too low to sustain the kind of growth most retirees want and need. Critics always pont to bear markets as a reason not to invest social security funds. However, most workers are in social security for 40 years or more. Can anyone find even a 10 year period where the cumulative yield on stocks was negative?

    3. Defecits matter, and the fiction of counting social security separately from the government's normal obligations is a fiction that rating agencies and other lenders to the government do not ignore. We need to consolidate all the government programs, entitlement programs, Freddies and Fannies, PBGC, etc., into a single set of accounts and make budget decisions accordingly. The bill is coming due NOW, not 5 or 10 years in the future.

    The solution to too much debt is less spending, which means cutting government. Increasing taxes on the wealthy won't work because they are too small a segment of society, already pay most of the taxes, and are the principal engine of growth.

    I think the only way to get the current crop of politicians to face up to the need to spend less is both elections and term limits... but those are subject for another day.

  • Report this Comment On April 07, 2010, at 7:06 PM, Howard1ii wrote:

    Wait!!! I thought 'hope and Change" were going to be free?? Promises, promises, but never any detail or plan, so is it any surprise that the administration is just making a bad situation worse? The best way to GET OUT of a hole is to STOP digging. Obama and Pelosi are DIGGING like crazy. They say they have identified $300B in savings in Medicare, OK go save it.

  • Report this Comment On April 07, 2010, at 7:18 PM, PALH wrote:

    Yes, by all means, let's do nothing but invest. Let's, by all means, NOT assert our political will to hike payroll taxes the fractions they need to be hiked to put Social Security back in the black. The third rail of politics is cutting benefits, but the third rail of conservstive libertarianism is any kind of taxes at all. That's where the threat to Social Security solvency came from, from not doing the simple math to compute that people who live longer should be paying more of a premium to get Social Security insurance to last longer. And by all means let's demonize anyone who would dare to join a union. And be sure to make up straw men, call someone an unemployed GM worker out of thin air and then attack this mythical beast for the villainous act of bargaining for more money. From a company that made FORTUNES for its corporate officers and shareholders for 100 years before the Hummers and gas-guzzling SUVs drove them into the ditch.

    C'mon. Wake up.

  • Report this Comment On April 07, 2010, at 7:49 PM, AbstractMotion wrote:

    What rubbish, the solvency threat (reality) to Social Security came with the horrible way in which the program is structured. Money goes in, money goes out, virtually none of it is saved. Even with the tax rate hiked up this high, a constant surplus and a favorable population balance for the program they've managed to spend it dry. No the tax should not go up, it's 15.3% now and quite frankly as someone who is going to be working for the next 30+ years of my life I do not see any reason why 20-25% of my income should have to go to pay for someone else's retirement. That's ridiculous the taxpayer has given the Federal government a 2.5 trillion dollar pile of money to sit on at this point and they've managed to spend every penny of it.

    Partial privitization and a phase out of the program would be the best option. I'm fine with the government keeping a minimal safety net going, but it need not be in the business of running a retirement fund. If people want to invest their income in the government they could simply invest in treasuries either directly or in an IRA/Roth IRA. I'm fine with 5-6% just to know that if everything goes horribly wrong someone won't be starving on the street, but you should be able to invest the other 10% tax free into a retirement account if you want to. That would get the savings rate up and insure that people save some money or contribute a great amount if they choose to to save that money on their own. The boomers have had 30 years to address this problem and they failed to. This is a great example of what happens when people get apathetic about their roles as voters and take things for granted. There have been red flags, sirens and people crying damnation for years now. Asking younger worker to foot the bill is just asking for one big generational bailout.

  • Report this Comment On April 07, 2010, at 8:13 PM, neamakri wrote:

    I have studied the available goverment census figures. Before the year 2010 there are about four workers for every retired person (age 65). Sometime after 2010, because the Baby Boomers will retire, the ratio will dramatically change to 3:1. This means that either those workers must contribute 33% more in taxes, or else the retired persons must accept a 25% reduction in benefits in order to keep the same pay-as-you-go dollar ratio.

    The current SSA program has two major flaws. The FIRST FLAW is that the money is not "privatized" but instead is loaned to Uncle Sam at a low rate. Private busines is willing to pay more to borrow money. If you are good at math, you know that a small increase in returns, compounded over years, can make a big difference in the end. The SECOND FLAW is political control. As long as the government is in charge of your retirement money, they can do whatever they want with your retirment money, depending on how the political wind is blowing at the time. Would you rather have a congressman control your retirement money, or a financial professional?

    Let me discuss what I call "fiddling". There are a variety of schemes to "save" social security. Some are: raise taxes, tax more people, lower benefits, raise the retirement age, etc. ALL FIDDLING will either make workers pay more taxes or else reduce payments to retirees. Since fiddling does not solve the two FLAWS, fiddling is doomed to failure. We must privatize Social Security.

    Let me introduce Jose Pinera. He is from Chile. He was in charge of the Social Security system in Chile. In 1980 Chile converted to a privatized system. Since then the country of Chile has far less poverty than before, and their entire economic system has progressed more than twice as fast as before. It seems all we have to do is copy their success and be done.

    Please visit www.pensionreform.org. Click Jose Pinera. Select the article "Empowering Workers in Chile". He says it best.

  • Report this Comment On April 08, 2010, at 12:02 AM, ybckorea wrote:

    I looked at a Ford Taurus the other day - just shy of $42,000. How about a scooter?

  • Report this Comment On April 08, 2010, at 10:30 AM, GaryF1947 wrote:

    What trust fund??? There is no trust fund, all moneys have been spent by the US Government. All we have is a bunch of "certificates" that are secured by the full faith and credit of the US Government. I am sorry, but that isn't very reassuring to me. I have no faith in the Legislative or Executive branches, as they can "fix" the problem at the stroke of a pen, regardless of the promises made over the last (nearly) 80 years. There is no honor among thieves, or ethics for politicians. So, between the changes in Retirement plans, the destruction of Social Security, and what the current administration is doing to the Dollar, I hope we all are able to survive by growing our own food, and you had better own your own property, free and clear.

  • Report this Comment On April 08, 2010, at 12:39 PM, TMFDitty wrote:

    @ybckorea: Ugh, Sorry to hear that. But remember that the "Taurus" is actually the Ford 500 -- Ford's answer to the hulking Chrysler 300, and a pricey relic of the pre-Great Recession.

    Unless you've got your heart set on it, take a gander at the new electric Focus. Word has it that's going to go for $25,000-ish.

    http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2010/04/05/ford-sees-n...

    TMFDitty

  • Report this Comment On April 08, 2010, at 4:55 PM, jfrankh57 wrote:

    Most comments hit it right. Government has become the ultimate "Too Big to Fail" Enterprise. Isn't it a darn shame that we can't get this Enterprise into bankruptcy court...

  • Report this Comment On April 09, 2010, at 12:48 AM, pkluck wrote:

    Lockbox Ha ha, SS has been bankrupt for decades, there is no lockbox just funny IOU's in it. The private sector got out of pension plans and rightfully so, the burden of retirement should be squarely on the workers shoulders through savings and 401(k)s. Now if the Gov't and unions would give up Cadillac pension plans maybe they could invest the savings into Social Security or cut taxes. You should not be able to work 20-25 years and make 80-100% of your working salary, as a lot of Govt and union pension plans pay. That is not how pension plans should work. And as someone pointed out SS should include private investment options but unfortunately Democrats successfully (but wrongly) spun it as a Republican way for big business to get rich, such bullsheet.

  • Report this Comment On April 09, 2010, at 9:15 AM, 20141231 wrote:

    I find it truly abhorrent that the fix to these problems always, repeat always, goes back to the pension recipients to repair or resolve or suffer through. The govt trashed and robbed SS funds to cover its butt on other questionable "projects". (Our money and we are not allowed to have a vote.) Big business hands out obscene bonuses for managers doing bad jobs and we get punished for complaining about it! We're bankrupt because NO ONE is standing up to lead or guide, or put all a halt to these criminal shenanigans! Pres Obama, the Sec'y of The Treasury, and the US Congress need to quit screwing with our lives!

  • Report this Comment On April 09, 2010, at 4:42 PM, Windshearer wrote:

    Vote Ronald McDonald President! At least you could recognize you have an "inexperienced" clown in the Whitehouse.

  • Report this Comment On April 09, 2010, at 7:36 PM, chuckles107 wrote:

    I have a two part answer to the problem. First, throw all the bums out of Congress. Second, make love as often as possible with no birth control. The baby boom will create so many jobs in about 20 to 25 years that we will all be saved.

    The first part will bring great joy. The second part will bring great pleasure.

  • Report this Comment On April 10, 2010, at 3:38 PM, hoosierfool13 wrote:

    "full" retirement age should be later, gradually becoming 70, because life expectancy has increased so greatly, but reduced benefits should remain available at 62 for those whose jobs have been lost to "progress" or whose bodies have been worn out by hard physical labor. (i say this as someone who was laid off at 64.5 and took benefits at 65, not 66 as i'd planned/wished to do.)

    laws against age discrimination by employers should be enforced very strictly, but companies also should be encouraged to let people 60 and older work reduced schedules (at reduced pay) to help them phase into retirement IF THEY WISH (some need to work and save strenuously after 60 because they had their families late in life).

    social security taxes should be collected on ALL wages. our society's socioeconomic mobility -- upward and downward -- is great. someone who was making $200k as a banker last year may be out of work this year, or become permanently disabled next year.

    401(k)s and/or iras should be offered on an opt-out, not opt-in, basis, and workers should be educated on their potential and on investing in general.

    interest on savings should be tax-exempt up to a certain amount each year to encourage savings from cradle to grave.

    all 8th graders should be required to pass a financial literacy class. if they're old enough to babysit and mow lawns, then they're old enough to learn that they can put some of that money away for college and some of it into an ira, not just blow it all on fast food and video games.

    such a class also should teach investing by having kids contribute a small amount each week and decide, at the end of each month, what to invest it in. at the end of the school year, the investments would be liquidated and they would receive any profits received. (yes, kids that age are capable of researching stocks. as a 7th-grader in the mid-'90s, my son begged me to invest in berkshire hathaway at a time when it was about $700 a share. unfortunately, i was recently divorced and barely keeping food on the table at the time, so i couldn't take advantage of his wisdom.)

    as for "throw all the bums out of congress," that's of little use if people simply vote for new corporate tools to replace them -- even more likely now that the supreme court has ruled that corporations can make unlimited political contributions. until middle-class people learn to vote their own economic interests, instead of being deluded into voting like the fat cats, we'll have more "bums" than "non-bums" in public office.

  • Report this Comment On April 10, 2010, at 10:17 PM, jomueller1 wrote:

    Please accept my apology for being ignorant. Who did ever come up with the idea that average Joe should have a portfolio and save for retirement in the stock market? Average Joe (including me) cannot invest successfully as much as the pros in financial firms. For a long time I had a life insurance which covered my mortgage - same company. Their profits were better than my mortgage interest. That kind of life insurance is tax free in my home country. No need whatsoever to risk saved money in the stock market. My social security and my savings cover me and I do not loose any sleep over it.

    I believe the push for average Joe to become an investor was just meant to increase the market size and the profits the smart guys can make. On top, it was in many cases easy money for the companies to give their employees shares at a "good" price. In the end companies like GM squandered much of the money that was supposed to be their employee's money. Companies like IBM pay their pensions but they do not give a cost of living increase so in the end they pay less and less.

    Please leave the stock market to gamblers and give average Joe a decent and safe return above the inflation rate. Remember: Not everyone has what it takes to be a smart investor!

  • Report this Comment On April 12, 2010, at 12:19 AM, steveelcpo wrote:

    Does anyone remember when George W. Bush proposed Soc. Security reform in about 2001/2002? He said that (1) no current recipient would be affected, and (2) no one over the age of 50 would be affected since their time line was too short to make other plans. The three stooges (Kennedy, Kerry and Clinton) got in front of the cameras and "reassured" seniors that they would not let the president "steal" their social security. Oh, and there was a lot of complaining how this would be a boon to Wall St. AARP (those liars) sent out letters to all their members asking for donations to help them stop the president from stealing social security benefits from seniors; my parents received one. Take out the lies and the fear mongering and any rational person has known for decades that something needed to be done to save social security, but nobody had the will to do it and now it may be too late. I will never be an AARP member (although I am now elegible) and I would never vote for the the two remaining members of the three stooges. Instead of shoving health care down our throats, why didn't Mr. Hope and Change do something constructive??? Possible solutions now are limited to cutting benefits or delaying the elegibility age; but one good place to start would be allowing the wage earner to take 1-2% of their Social Security tax and invest it themselves, or let employers put 1-2% of their portion of the contribution into an employee directed 401K. I would rather take my chances in the stock market than let the federal government continue making their investment decisions for me.

  • Report this Comment On April 13, 2010, at 9:59 AM, myronbish wrote:

    The author is completely wrong about Social Security's financial status. Every cent of the $ 2.5 trillion in the "lockbox" has already been spent. Every cent that Social Security will pay out above its revenues will be borrowed. It is stunning that financial writers cannot comprehend how SS actually works. It is the biggest Ponzi scheme in history.

  • Report this Comment On April 13, 2010, at 4:42 PM, doncoyoteok wrote:

    I'd like my share of the lockbox now, please.

  • Report this Comment On April 14, 2010, at 6:39 AM, tombaldi wrote:

    I just wonder what we would save if all the "earmarks" and other pork was eliminated from bills and spending? Does anyone have those numbers? It would be nice to know. Outlaw all that "Bridge to Nowhere" earmarks or riders bull!!

  • Report this Comment On April 14, 2010, at 12:32 PM, chop66 wrote:

    Social Security will not and cannot adequately cover a person's retirement needs. I no longer even count SS into my retirment calculations. If it is there, it will just mean an extra vacation every so often. Pension plans are simply a private company's version. Yes the Government keeps a "safety net" if your company goes bust and they take it over. You will get some reduced amount based on what they turn over to Uncle Sam. Like anything else look at who you work for and see how solid they are. Most of the big companies simply have phased the plans out. New hires don't have access to pension plans. Finally, your 401K is what you have the most control over. Step one contribute as much as you possibly can afford to and at least enough to max out any matching contribution you company provides. Second invest according to your risk tolerance. If you are 23 and just starting to work, your risk tolerance is much higher than someone that is 60 and has just a few more years before they punch out. Many 401ks now offer plans that automatically become more and more conservative the closer you get to retirement. This is an easy way to actively manage your portfolio without you having to go in each month and rebalance it. Finally, plan your time after you retire. Do something with your time, now is the time to invest it into your community, remember all the things you did not have time to do when you were commuting back and forth to work. It may even be a way to add a small side income or at the very least a decent tax write off.

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As a defense writer for The Motley Fool, I focus on defense and aerospace stocks. My job? Every day of the week, I'm monitoring the news, figuring out the winners and losers, and tracking down the promising companies for you to invest in. Follow me on Twitter or Facebook for the most important developments in defense & aerospace, and other great stories.

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