A point about SS vs. Private accounts that perhaps hasn't been brought up. In the 90's the country was prosperous. People made money left and right. Not everybody, but the average person suddenly had access to online trading, the internet provides instant information on new businesses, and the expansion of existing business. I'll get to my point in a moment.
Right now, the average person pays anywhere from say $75 - $200 a month in SS taxes. That money goes to fund... Social Security. There were over 100 million voters in the last presidential election. Now imagine 100 million investors. Imagine 10 billion dollars invested each month, not in products, but in companies themselves. 120 billion per year. Now the possibility of government cotrolled or even advised personal accounts does have the possibility for abuse. But if the private accounts are monitered by a third party that is not in any way affilliated with the companies being invested in, the ripple effect here could be significant.
Americans, while not necessarily smarter than 70 years ago, certainly have access to far more information. We live in a time when a person can go back to college in his/her sixties. Why does the government insist on treating us like we are children?
I'll state this once again. Had the money i paid into SS for the first 12 years of my working life had instead gone into an IRA or Mutual Fund, my retirement would be set, without question. And that retirement would have come at a younger age, freeing up my position in the workforce for a member of the next generation. Instead I see the elderly working at Wal-Mart, not necessarily because they want to, but because they have to.
10 Billion a month invested in the businesses and industries that run America, instead of invested in a holding pattern that may or may not exist in 30 years.