GC, Social Security has been a Ponzi scheme from the get-go. The only way the original idea could work is for a labor force that is large enough to support the retirees, which means a population that is increasing at a rate only seen during the baby boom and/or not very many people living much beyond their retirement age.
Shap, although a congress may not be able to promise results beyond their existing term, unfortunately many of the bills they pass seemingly live forever. Otherwise, SS would have died with FDR.
OT, I submit that the "reform" won't involve any decrease in contribution (that sounds so voluntary, doesn't it), simply a say-so in how that money is cared for until its time to withdraw it.
Dai Bread, I might suggest the thought that the reason so few people are taking care of themselves is because they think someone else (like a government program) will do it for them.
Analog, excellent advice. The 401k program started when I was in my late 30s. The company I was working for at the time made outstanding contributions to the employees' accounts, and in just a few years I had $30,000 in my account. In what turned out to be a short-sighted plan, I took a lump-sum payment for the whole thing when I was laid off from that company, and my attempt at entrepreneurship lost it all. Since that time, I've participated to the max in every 401k plan I've been eligible to, in spite of my employers' token contributions. I'm now participating to the max in the federal "Thrift Savings Plan" which is growing me quite a nest egg.
Unfortunately, Shos seems to feel that in order to save a few fools from their own folly, that those of us who make wise investments must also make mediocre or poor investments. I'll agree that Bush is just another Republican borrow-and-spend big government advocate, as compared to Democrats' policies of tax-and-spend big government, which is why I characterized the major candidates in the way I did. I admit I did not stay up to hear the entire speech. It started at 9PM on the east coast, and 9:30 is about when I have to hit the hay. I read a few excerpts in the paper this morning, and from what I see there, Bush wouldn't know a liberty if it bit him in the backside. His inaugural address now has quite a hollow ring to it.
The Democratic response remains a topic of which I know nothing. There wasn't even an article on it in the paper I read.
Howard, I'm glad you learned from the mistakes of others. It was good that your grandfather had family to return the favor of supporting them, but far too many people run out of cash before they run out of breath.
I'm over 55 myself, and I am still not fully confident in SS to provide me with income (however meager) until I attain room temperature. If the plan is what I believe it to be (that I can control how some of my SS funds are invested), then I would be eager to participate. I understand that some of the changes are going to result in payouts not increasing as much as they would have. This neither dismays me nor surprises me. SS, as I noted above, has been a Ponzi scheme from the get-go. With birth rates stabilizing, you need to either increase the income, decrease the outgo, or both.
--I know what I like--