My grandmother is retired. Had she been allowed to invest the same amount of money even conservatively in interest-bearing CDs (again, including employer contribution, which is part of your salary that you never see), she'd be better off now. But, again, while I may oppose the program on ideological grounds, I recognize that it's firmly entrenched and the responsible thing to do is simply to make sure it stays in existence as is. Public opinion isn't on my side, and I realize that's not likely to change in the near future. And even if it was, the transition costs would be too much to bear. [On the flip side, Social Security is a net gain for you if, like in Nonny's case, you're disabled. But for *most* people it's not, at least not according to any projections I've seen vs. even low-risk CD's.].
In sum, there's basically two arguments:
-- Is social security a good idea? Moot point; it's popular and costs too much to scrap. It's here for the long-haul.
-- Is it a good idea to privatize it? I've yet to see an argument that it is.
Delvo—I must admit, I was one of those who thought Social Security was in trouble, because I bought into the conventional wisdom. And when various analyses started showing up on the liberal blogs (Drum, Yselgais, Marshall, etc.), I was initially skeptical. However, I've yet to hear a sound argument for privatization. The program is good until at least 2042 (because, remember: Payroll taxes paid into the system. It's not the SSA's fault that congress squandered it; congress simply has to pay that money back. How they do that isn't Social Security's problem). I wish all of our problems were 37 years away, at worst.
Instead, how about we forget about social security privatization, repeal Bush's tax cuts for the top 5% or so, and try to get the 2005 budget back on track? Making a reasonable effort to balance the budget this year should be something everybody can agree on.