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View Diary: Paul Ryan shows he hasn't given up on privatizing a chunk of Social Security (75 comments)

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  •  And we have to watch this long-term... (19+ / 0-)

    Two very scary, major stock market crashes (2000-2002 and 2008-2009) are in our collective recent memories, and to a large extent the memory of these events represents the primary reason why a large number of people are against privatizing Social Security.  Be honest, this was Joe Biden's most effective argument contra last night.  

    Suppose the stock market goes on a 10-year roll from now (not implausible); the risks would be the same, but would you expect privatization to be so unpopular at that time?  Would privatization have been so unpopular if it had been proposed in 1999?

    But all of this is beside the point.  Risk of loss is a downside to privatizing Social Security, but that's not the fundamental reason why privatizing is a bad idea.  Social Security is NOT like an IRA or 401(k), where you invest while you work and withdraw when you retire, even though this is how it is described popularly (I "paid in" and expect to get "paid back" later).  Rather, Social Security is an inter-generational agreement, in which working-age people pay into the pool to cover current retirees, with the expectation that the next generation of employees will pay for them, et seq.  It is a collectivist plan to provide a basic, minimum guaranteed standard of living to retirees.  These are the features that guarantee the program's solvency in perpetuity (provided the right minor tweaks are made to the inputs to and outputs from the system)---there will ALWAYS be working people to contribute to the system, and benefit recipients have NO EXPECTATION of huge gains, just a reasonable, minimum income stream.  

    But guys like Paul Ryan simply can't wrap their heads around the concept of Social Security.  Collectivism is evil and CAN'T work, despite any evidence to the contrary (e.g., eight decades of the Social Security program).  They hate Social Security simply because it is a collectivist program, regardless whether it works.  Moreover, they can only see Social Security as a financial scheme rather than as a pay-it-forward arrangement---which is why they frequently refer to it, incorrectly, as a Ponzi scheme.  To them, everything with a financial bent has to provide an opportunity for huge, maximized gains, where you balance risk and reward.  It boggles their minds to have a program in place---let alone one voters actually like---into which people pay 6% of their income with no possibility of receiving more than a few thousand dollars a month in retirement...which is the whole point---the current generation pays for the last one, providing them with retirement income at NO RISK.

    •  The first thing they did (13+ / 0-)

      was get  us working schlubs to start investing in the stock market. In other words, get their hands on our savings.

      Next they managed to get their hands on our pensions. They got shot to hell in the past 15 years, if they survived at all. Mosty the idea of a pension has been turned into more money for them to play with (401Ks, etc)

      Now they want to do the same thing with Social Security.

      Yet they somehow resent us, because we feel entitled to housing and food.

      Bastards.

      These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert, to fleece the people... -Abraham Lincoln

      by HugoDog on Fri Oct 12, 2012 at 12:53:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ryan can wrap his head around SS well enough (7+ / 0-)

      to tap the funds. He already has collected survivor benefits.

      •  But that doesn't stop him from being willing (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        divineorder, 714day

        to end it in the future.

        Paul Ryan has his. He doesn't care about anyone else.

        Of course he isn't practiced at telling everyone everything they want to hear the way the Republican candidates have been doing lately. McCain and Romney are particularly adept at pandering to everyone.

        The GOP is the party of mammon. They mock what Jesus taught.

        by freelunch on Fri Oct 12, 2012 at 02:27:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Social Security (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      2laneIA, barbwires, KenBee, divineorder

      A Social Security benefit is a government-guaranteed fixed annuity with inflation protection. You cannot buy that from any investment firm because it doesn't exist anywhere else.

      Such an annuity makes an ideal complement to mutual funds, stocks, bonds, real estate, and other assets that most working Americans have in their 401k, IRA and personal investment accounts. So why financial guys like Romney and so many other Republicans would be against it, or want to change its nature, is a bizarre mystery to me. Any financial expert worthy of the name would say you are spreading the risk and assuring yourself a floor of guaranteed income. And that's a tough combination to beat.

      The people who allegedly would benefit by investing their SS contributions in other places in pursuit of higher returns really don't need to do this because they already are doing so at work or will be at some point in their lives.  

      •  You forget that it includes a disability annuity (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        divineorder

        and a survivors annuity.

        There are insurers who sell similar products, but the GOP lies about how good of a deal it is.

        The GOP is the party of mammon. They mock what Jesus taught.

        by freelunch on Fri Oct 12, 2012 at 02:28:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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