Bill, the point of SS is not to make the most money; it is an investment vehicle which will not fail, period. It is a tool of redundancy, not one of efficiency. And the 'magic money engine' is not a tool of redundancy. Some will lose out.
It's not a ponzi scheme, you've already been shown that it isn't a ponzi scheme, and your insistence on using the term still sort of makes me lose interest in continuing the conversation with you. It's quite obvious that you are one of those who is just dead-set convinced that you aren't getting the return that you could if you could just manage the money yourself... which to me says that you don't understand the point of SS at all.
Now, if you want SS to simply provide a safety net against poverty then I would agree that paying as the need presents itself makes some sense. However; this isn't the way SS has evolved. SS benefits are dependent on how much a person pays in... which makes it mimic an investment of sorts... but who in their right mind would intentionally invest in a system with such an abysmal track record for returns?
Okay; it's a safety net against poverty. Anyone in their right mind would pay into a system which, while it doesn't provide giant returns, provides guaranteed
returns. Not over a 20-year period, not subject to fluctuation. Guaranteed by the government.
I talked of my grandparents earlier. They receive an SS check, for the money my grandfather and mother put in to SS during their working life. None of it is subject to the whims of the market. If SS were currently set up the way that the Bushies (and you, which really should be a sign to you that you're on the wrong side of this issue) wanted, a big portion of their money would be in an account which is linked to stocks. The fluctuation of those stocks would lead to a fluctuation in the amount of money that they received right now
. While over the ten-year period starting in 2005 and ending in 2015 they might still show a profit, that doesn't change the fact that they wouldn't be doing as well at any given moment and that would be directly reflected in the amount of money they get to live their life.
Old folks aren't looking for a gamble, they are looking for security
. Better a low, steady check then one which is all over the place and could be much less at some points.
I don't think your contention - that people who weren't forced into SS wouldn't buy into it - is supported by any data whatsoever. Polling has shown that people like
Social Security. When given the option to change to a system that you propose, they soundly rejected it. How do you explain that? You used the phrase 'enforcement at the point of a gun' twice. Dramatic but stupid. When given the opportunity to turn that gun elsewhere, people keep deciding to keep it pointed at them...
And as I said to Robert earlier: we both know it ain't gonna change, so what's the point of going on about it? The American public has rejected the privatization of SS for the time being. And, as I also said before, it's largely an issue of trust.
I also think there are a lot of additional costs and inefficiencies associated with having a private fund for every person in America, but funny, no advocates really want to talk about that fact, and how much those transaction and management costs would remove from the system...