A Wall Street Banker Turned to Comedy for Happiness and a Career Change
From his perch atop the most-visited column in The Wall Street Journal, Scott Patterson is in a position to know a thing or two about the American public’s taste for satire.
So when he heard that a Harvard Business School professor was calling for a government-forced reduction in the size of the nation’s retirement plan, he called him, and they agreed to meet at the restaurant of the Harvard Club of New York.
“I know what happened then and how much I am in the position I am now,” said Patterson, who is a columnist in The Journal on Wall Street and writes weekly columns for Forbes. “I think this is one of the most important issues today, if for no other reason than to have it front and center in the national conversation.”
The professor, however, isn’t exactly in a position to call Patterson a “celebrity” — he is, after all, a member of Harvard’s faculty — but he is being humble about his impact on the national conversation on retirement, which has been dominated by the issue of Social Security in the past two decades, thanks in part to Patterson’s articles and his book, The Retirement Dole: How the Government Is Making Our Retirements a Nightmare.
It is the role of a Wall Street Journal columnist to be a little subversive, and at the risk of sounding a little self-righteous, I find myself very proud to be one. Patterson’s column has had an impact on me personally as well. Many of my friends and family members have been encouraged and challenged by his article on Social Security, which has been read more than a half million times since it first went up in February.
I have always been a conservative on issues of Social Security and the entitlement state. While I agree with Patterson that there is plenty of blame to go around for the Social Security system not living up to its promise, I have always felt the system should be protected, and that I should not have to rely on other people’s money to support myself and my family.
Patterson’s latest column, titled “Reducing the Deficit, Not Social Security, Is the Best Way to Curb America’s Debt,” also challenged me on that issue. He argued that