TC001,Regarding your comments about social security, I agree with you completely that the system is in need of revision. When it was put in place, there were 30+ payors for every recipient and then current life expectencies guaranteed that most people didn't collect for more than a few years at best. It cannot possibly continue under it's current structure and remain fiscally sound. I made the point in a long ago post that either eligibility rules will narrow further or benefits are certain to drop.But I do have a different take than you on some items:<<First, realize that retirement is NOT a right. It's a concept that is very new to mankind (yes, relatively new even in U.S. history) and not very well thought out.>>If working until you die is the concept that you wish to follow, by all means, do so, but leave me out. I don't intend to drop out of the human race, but neither will I be putting in a 40+ hour week. We retire, because we can afford to retire. To me, that's progress. Few people would choose to retire voluntarily on just their social security benefit. <<If you want an answer that is neither coldly calculated nor flippant, try a simple word; community...it was the community (family, neighbors, church, etc.) that provided the safety net (and while I won't sacrifice for your family, I do contribute to my community).>>A most valid point, but we're no longer in the days when people spend their whole lives in one place and have to depend on each other (and ONLY each other) to get the crops in or build a barn. The essence of community is ever-expanding. The U.S. is a community too, and the world for that matter. Economies and well-being are intertwined to levels unparalleled in history. Your community no longer ends at the town line.<<Give people a choice and "local" will always draw a stronger response than "national".>>No argument here, everyone would prefer to have some say in where their money goes. But what's to prevent people from moving to an area that offers better community support and that influx threatens to swamp the program? The federal government can provide a breadth of resources unavailable at the local level.<<When the safety net became a federalized project, let's just say that the ropes were rewoven to form a noose instead.>>The social security program was a godsend when it was created. The fact that the demographics on which it was constructed have so radically changed is no reason to damn the initial goals of the program. The fact that future lawmakers haven't revised it IS the problem.<<Politicians aren't willing to hang themselves by making changes that are necessary to keep SS solvent, so you better hope that communities don't become obsolete.>>Politician's aren't known for being long-range thinkers...and even those that are generally want to stay in office. They are loathe to do anything unpopular until it reaches a crisis stage...and we're getting there.